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m  COMMEMORATION  OF  THE  TENTH  ANNIVIR* ARY  OF  THE  FOUNDING  OF  THE 

AMERICAN  ARCHIVES  THE  DIRECTION  Of  JACOB  RADER  MARCUS 


»7-5° 


Founcifd  in  1947  on  the  Cincinnati 
cainpus  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  - 
Jewish  Institute  of  Religion,  the  American 
Jewish  Archives  has  become,  in  its  first 
decade  of  existence,  a  major  research  cen- 
ter for  American  Jewish  history.  This  vol- 
ume is  published  as  a  Festschrift  in  tribute 
to  the  Archives  and  its  director  and  guiding 
spirit,  Jacob  Rader  Marcus.  The  score 
of  essays  comprising  it  have  been  written 
by  noted  scholars  and  range  over  the  field 
from  the  sale  of  a  slave  in  the  Brooklyn  of 
1683  to  the  activities  of  a  highly-placed 
American  Jewish  leader  at  the  post-war 
peace  conference  of  1919;  from  a  gene- 
alogical study  of  American  Jewry  in  the 
Colonial  and  Early  National  periods  to  an 
investigation  of  the  American  Jew's  role 
in  the  United  States  of  today.  Many  of 
the  essays  cast  new  light  on  important 
figures  like  Isaac  M.  Wise,  Isaac  Leeser, 
David  Einhorn,  Bernhard  Felsenthal,  and 
Cyrus  Adler,  while  others  explore  some 
hitherto  little-known  aspects  of  the  Jewish 
experience  in  America  —  early  American 
Jewish  Hebrew  scholarship,  for  example. 
An  intriguing  picture  of  American  Jewish 
economic,  cultural,  and  political  life 
emerges  from  this  Festschrift  to  constitute 
another  contribution  to  the  small,  but 
growing,  body  of  literature  on  which  rest 
the  foundations  of  American  Jewish  history 
as  a  scientific  discipline. 


Jacket  design:  Maurice  Delcgator 


3  1148  00132  6859 


296  H¥i6e       60-02002 
Hebrew  Union  College-  Jewish 
Institute  of  Religion 
Essays  in  American  Jewish  history 


PUBUCATIONS  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEWISH  ARCHIVES  •  NO. 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS 

Director  of  the  American  Jewish  Archives 

Since  Its  Inception 


ESSAYS  IN  AMERICAN 
JEWISH  HISTORY 

To  Commemorate  the  Tenth  Anniversary 
of  the  Founding 

of  the 
AMERICAN   JEWISH    ARCHIVES 

under  the  direction  of 
JACOB  RADER  MARCUS 


THE  AMERICAN  JEWISH  ARCHIVES 

Cincinnati    • 


Published  on 
THE  NEUMANN  MEMORIAL  PUBLICATION  FUND 

of  the 
AMERICAN  JEWISH  ARCHIVES 


Library  of  Congress  Catalogue  Card  Number:  58-12939 


COPYRIGHT,  1958,  BY 

THE  AMERICAN  JEWISH  ARCHIVES 

On  the  Cincinnati  campus  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  - 

Jewish  Institute  of  Religion 


PRINTED  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  OF  AMERICA 

PRESS  OF  G^^xw^e^ALox€b^  INC. 

224    N,    1STH    ST.,    PHILXDELroiA    2,    PENNA. 


DEDICATED 

TO  THOSE  WHO  MADE  THE 
AMERICAN  JEWISH  ARCHIVES  POSSIBLE 

NELSON  GLUECK 

AND 

THE  BOARD  OF  GOVERNORS 

OF  THE 
HEBREW  UNION  COLLEGE  -  JEWISH  INSTITUTE  OF  RELIGION 


SPONSORS  OF  THE 

AMERICAN  JEWISH  ARCHIVES 
Tenth  Anniversary  Volume 

OSCAR  HANDLIN 
BERTRAM  W.  KORN 
RICHARD  B.  MORRIS 
EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 


Contents 


PAGE 

Foreword 

Nelson  Glueck xi 

In  Appreciation 

Bertram  W.  Korn xiii 

Jacob  Rader  Marcus — A  Biographical  Sketch 

Stanley  F.  Chyet i 


A  Decisive  Pattern  in  American  Jewish  History 

Ellis  Rivkin * 23 

The  Sale  of  a  Negro  Slave  in  Brooklyn  in  1 683 

Abraham  G.  Duker 63 

The  Function  of  Genealogy  in  American  Jewish  History 

Malcolm  H.  Stern 69 

The  Henry  Joseph  Collection  of  the  Gratz  Family  Papers  at  the 
American  Jewish  Archives 
M .  Arthur  Oles 99 

Hebrew  Grammar  and  Textbook  Writing  in  Early  Nineteenth- 
Century  America 
William  Chomsky 123 

The  Founders  of  "Wissenschaft  des  Judentums"  and  America 

Guido  Kisch 147 

Some  Conclusions  About  Rebecca  Gratz 

Joseph  R.  Rosenbloom 171 

Some  Unrecorded  American  Judaica  Printed  Before  1851 

Edwin  Wolf  2nd 187 

The  Motivation  of  the  German  Jewish  Emigration  to  America  in 
the  Post-Mendelssohnian  Era 
Selma  Stern- Taeubltr 247 

ix 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

The  Economic  Life  of  the  American  Jew  in  the  Middle  Nineteenth 
Century 
Allan  Tarshish 263 

A  Retrospective  View  of  Isaac  Leeser's  Biblical  Work 

Matitiahu  Tsevat 295 

David  Einhorn:  Some  Aspects  of  His  Thinking 

Bernhard  N.  Cokn , 315 

Isaac  Mayer  Wise's  "Jesus  Himself" 

Samuel  Sandmel 325 

The  Temple  Emanu-El  Theological  Seminary  of  New  York  City 

Bertram  W.  Korn 359 

The  Semikah  of  the  Rev.  Dr.  Kaufmann  Kohler 

Joshua  Block 373 

Bernhard  Felsenthal's  Letters  to  Osias  Schorr 

Ezra  Spicehandler  and  Theodore  Wiener 379 

Rabbi  Sabato  Morais*  Report  on  the  Hebrew  Education  Society 
of  Philadelphia 
Menahem  G.  Glenn 407 

The  Role  of  Wolf  Schur  as  Hebraist  and  Zionist 

Jacob  Kabakoff 

The  Human  Record:  Cyrus  Adler  at  the  Peace  Conference,  1919 
Moshe  Davis 

The  Writings  of  Jacob  Rader  Marcus 

Compiled  by  Herbert  C,  Zjafren 493 

Index 

Compiled  by  Abraham  I.  Shinedling 513 


Foreword 


JL.N  1947,  by  action  of  the  Board  of  Governors,  the 
American  Jewish  Archives  was  organized  on  the  Cincinnati 
campus  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  -  Jewish  Institute  of 
Religion. 

The  Archives'  steady  growth,  indeed  its  emergence  as  a 
unique  institution  in  American  Jewish  life,  has  been  due 
primarily  to  the  gifted  direction  which  it  has  received  from 
Dr.  Jacob  Rader  Marcus,  Adolph  S.  Ochs  Professor  of  Jewish 
History.  The  able  leadership  which  he  has  supplied  has  turned 
the  Archives  from  a  bare  idea  into  a  living  reality.  The  assem- 
bling of  archival  material  necessary  to  describe  the  history  of 
Jews  in  this  country  was  the  first  step.  Thereafter,  Dr.  Marcus 
proceeded,  constantly  with  the  strong  support  of  our  Board  of 
Governors,  to  establish  a  photoduplication  laboratory  and  to 
borrow  important  materials  for  photostating  or  microfilming. 
Thus,  within  the  relatively  short  space  of  a  decade,  the  American 
Jewish  Archives  has  succeeded  in  assembling  over  1,000,000 
pages  of  documentary  correspondence,  diaries,  and  congrega- 
tional minutes,  much  of  it  of  great  historical  importance. 

This  Festschrift,  published  on  the  occasion  of  the  Tenth 
Anniversary  of  the  founding  of  the  Archives,  is  dedicated  both 
to  the  institution  and  to  the  man  who  is  principally  responsible 
for  its  founding.  Dr.  Jacob  R.  Marcus,  more  than  anyone  else, 
has  established  the  study  of  American  Jewish  history  on  a 
scientific  basis  and  has  caused  the  principal  resources  for  that 
study  to  be  assembled  in  one  place. 

On  this  occasion,  I  am  pleased  to  salute  him  as  a  dear  and 
close  friend,  whose  scholarly  achievements  have  brought  me 

xi 


FOREWORD 

personal  pride.  On  behalf  of  the  Board  of  Governors  and  the 
College-Institute  family,  I  express  the  fervent  prayer  that  he 
be  spared  for  decades  to  come  and  that  he  be  blessed  with 
health  and  strength  to  carry  even  further  his  work  in  the  field 
of  American  Jewish  history  and  of  our  common  American 
heritage. 

NELSON  GLUECK 
President 

Hebrew  Union  College  -Jewish 
Institute  of  Religion 


xn 


In  Appreciation 


Jims  Festschrift  is,  formally,  a  tribute  to  the  Amer- 
ican Jewish  Archives  on  the  tenth  anniversary  of  its  creation, 
more  than  a  year  late  (in  keeping  with  the  well-documented 
tradition  of  scholarly  celebrations),  in  view  of  the  fact  that  the 
first  announcement  of  its  founding  was  made  in  the  Hebrew 
Union  College  Bulletin  in  September,  1947. 

Every  new  academic  departure,  every  scholarly  institution, 
is  in  truth  the  fruit  of  one  man's  labor  of  love.  No  scientific 
society,  no  scholarly  library,  no  college,  ever  moved  from  a 
prospectus  on  paper  to  fulfillment  in  reality  without  the  affec- 
tionate and  whole-souled  devotion  of  one  man.  The  man  who 
created  the  American  Jewish  Archives  is  Jacob  Rader  Marcus. 
The  Archives  is  the  expression  of  his  personality,  his  high 
academic  standards,  his  penetrating  search  for  source  materials, 
his  love  of  his  Judaism  and  of  his  America. 

Even  Professor  Marcus  himself  is  probably  unable  to  explain 
just  why  and  exactly  when  his  vision  shifted  from  the  more 
traditional  and,  in  a  sense,  respected  study  of  the  life  of  the 
Jews  in  Europe  (and  especially  in  Germany)  to  the  vast,  un- 
explored story  of  Jewish  life  on  the  North  American  continent. 
It  was  probably  a  combination  of  several  factors:  his  thorough 
preparation  for  history  courses  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College 
(he  has  always  outlined  his  lectures  for  the  entire  year  in 
advance,  and  carefully  prepared  for  each  session),  which  made 
him  deeply  aware  of  our  comparative  ignorance  of  the  Jewish 
past  in  our  own  land;  his  insight  into  the  millennial  movement 
of  Jewish  life  from  center  to  center,  and  his  comprehension  early 
in  the  1 930' s  that,  with  the  growth  of  Hitlerism,  American 


IN  APPRECIATION 

Jewry  must  inevitably  rise  to  international  pre-eminence  in  the 
next  period  of  Jewish  history;  his  own  boyhood  in  the  mountains 
of  West  Virginia  and  a  native  American's  love  for  his  own  land; 
and,  finally,  his  personal  involvement  (more  so  than  almost  any 
American  Jewish  scholar)  in  the  day-to-day  solution  of  Jewish 
problems  on  the  local  scene  in  Cincinnati;  in  hundreds  of  other 
cities  and  towns  where  his  students  serve  as  rabbis  and  consult 
him  by  telephone  and  letter  when  plagued  by  their  own  prob- 
lems, and  where  he  has  lectured  and  taught  and  learned  from 
his  audiences  and  hosts;  and  on  the  national  scene  where,  in 
the  councils  of  organizations  like  the  American  Jewish  Historical 
Society,  the  B'nai  B'rith,  the  National  Jewish  Welfare  Board, 
the  Union  of  American  Hebrew  Congregations,  the  Jewish 
Publication  Society  of  America,  the  National  Community 
Relations  Advisory  Council,  and  the  Central  Conference  of 
American  Rabbis  (which  he  has  served  as  president),  to  name 
only  a  few,  he  has  participated  in  efforts  to  mold  the  Jewish 
future  in  America. 

During  the  early  1 930*8,  Dr.  Marcus  was  studying  the  contours 
of  the  contemporary  Jewish  scene,  leading  his  students  towards 
an  understanding  of  the  host  of  problems  which  plagued  the 
Jews  in  the  days  of  Hitlerism  and  American  economic  depression. 
Towards  the  middle  of  the  decade  he  began,  slowly,  to  gather 
source  materials  to  help  his  students  understand  the  background 
of  their  own  time,  to  assign  themes  in  American  Jewish  history 
for  prize  essay  competitions,  and  to  approve  dissertation  subjects 
in  the  field.  Finally,  in  the  summer  of  1942,  he  launched  the 
first  graduate  course  for  the  study  of  American  Jewish  history 
ever  to  be  taught.  It  was  my  privilege  to  be  one  of  the  handful 
of  students  who  attended  that  course.  Professor  Marcus  had 
already  digested  all  the  known  material  in  the  field,  had  chosen 
letters,  speeches,  pronouncements,  and  excerpts  for  the  syllabus 
for  the  course,  and  outlined  a  methodology  for  the  detailed 
xiv 


IN  APPRECIATION 


investigation  of  certain  periods  and  trends  which  was  to  guide 
him  and  his  students  for  years  to  come.  Into  that  course  he  had 
poured  the  fruit  of  years  of  learning  and  self-development;  he 
came  to  the  teaching  and  writing  of  American  Jewish  history 
as  a  mature  scholar,  trained  to  understand  documents,  to 
comprehend  trends,  to  ask  the  right  questions,  and  to  hew  to 
the  line  of  academic  accuracy.  This  will  explain  the  reason  for 
his  meteoric  rise  to  leadership  in  a  field  which  sorely  needed  the 
guiding  hand  of  a  scientific  historian. 

While  Dr.  Marcus  was  preparing  for  that  first  course,  it  was 
natural  that  he  should  think  of  all  the  questions  still  unanswered, 
of  all  the  names  of  persons  about  whom  nothing  was  known,  of 
all  the  secrets  which  lay  hidden  in  attics  and  basements  and  in 
the  old  desks  of  descendants  of  pioneers.  In  his  travels  during  the 
I9305s  he  began  to  search  through  the  collections  of  libraries 
and  historical  societies  in  every  state  of  the  Union,  and  to  track 
down  persons  who  might  be  the  owners  of  family  correspondence 
files  dating  back  through  the  centuries.  A  methodical  admin- 
istrator, he  organized  an  archive  of  his  own  on  the  third  floor  of 
his  home  in  Cincinnati,  filing  away  thousands  of  clippings, 
notes  of  interviews,  photostats,  pamphlets,  references,  and 
quotations.  This  search  for  raw  source  material  continued 
throughout  the  war  years.  His  cabinets  and  drawers  began  to 
bulge  at  the  seams;  his  students  and  friends  all  over  the  country 
caught  his  enthusiasm  and  sent  him  the  prizes  of  their  own 
searching. 

Then  came  1946-1947,  and  Professor  Marcus'  recognition 
that  the  job  of  collecting  the  records  of  the  American  Jewish 
experience  was  too  big,  too  important,  and  too  challenging  to 
be  the  side  line  of  one  man's  spare  time.  With  the  enthusiastic 
blessing  and  help  of  Dr.  Nelson  Glueck  and  the  Board  of  Gov- 
ernors, the  American  Jewish  Archives  was  formally  organized 
and  housed  in  the  old  Bernheim  Library  on  the  Hebrew  Union 


xv 


IN  APPRECIATION 

College  campus,  and  with  a  few  assistants,  the  Professor  began 
to  collect  in  earnest:  congregational  minute  books,  periodical 
files,  thousands  of  pages  of  records  from  local  governmental 
and  Federal  archives,  excerpts  from  will  books,  and  on  and  on. 
The  Archives  rapidly  came  to  be  the  one  place  in  the  country 
where  sources  for  every  aspect  of  American  Jewish  history 
would  be  likely  to  be  found  or  at  least  known.  No  project  in 
American  Jewish  history  could  be  undertaken  without  consulting 
its  vast  holdings;  no  scholar  or  student  would  ask  questions 
without  securing  some  help  from  its  Director  and  his  staff.  As 
the  Archives  passed  its  tenth  birthday,  it  had  already  achieved 
renown  as  the  greatest  single  depository  of  American  Jewish 
historical  data  in  existence. 

The  time  will  come  (may  it  be  far,  far  in  the  future)  when 
other  minds  will  guide  the  Archives,  but  always  it  will  continue 
to  be  an  extension  of  the  mind,  the  personality,  and  the  insight 
of  its  founder.  It  is  the  work  of  his  hands.  But  his  hands  have 
been  busy  during  this  time  in  other  ways.  As  author  and  an- 
notator  of  documents,  he  has  published  works  in  American 
Jewish  history,  Early  American  Jewry  (in  two  volumes),  and 
Memoirs  of  American  Jews:  1775-1865  (in  three),  which  have 
become  standard  references  in  the  field,  and  has  edited  the 
semiannual  journal  of  the  Archives,  containing  articles  and 
source  materials  of  great  value.  He  has  trained  a  generation  of 
scholars  to  investigate  areas  of  the  American  Jewish  experience 
in  his  own  exhaustively  methodical  fashion.  He  has  helped  in 
the  research  and  writing  of  virtually  every  volume  on  any 
aspect  of  his  chosen  field  which  has  been  published  in  the  years 
since  World  War  II.  He  has  lectured  extensively  throughout 
the  United  States  and  Canada,  presenting  a  historian's  view  of 
the  past,  present,  and  future  of  American  Jewry.  He  has  served 
as  chairman  of  the  Publication  Committee  of  the  Jewish  Pub- 
lication Society  of  America  and  is  now  its  vice  president,  and 
xvi 


IN  APPRECIATION 


has  helped  immeasurably  to  strengthen  its  program.  He  has 
toured  the  Caribbean  Sea  and  South  America  searching  for 
archival  materials.  He  has  helped  to  instill  new  life  into  the 
American  Jewish  Historical  Society  and  has  served  as  its 
president  for  three  years,  giving  richly  of  his  knowledge  and  his 
charm  to  his  associates.  He  has  helped  two  generations  of 
American  Reform  rabbis  to  achieve  a  clear  and  comprehensive 
picture  of  the  community  which  they  are  to  serve.  He  has  been 
friend  and  counselor  to  rabbis  throughout  the  land  to  the  extent 
that  they  elected  him  president  of  the  Central  Conference  of 
American  Rabbis,  the  first  since  the  venerable  Isaac  Mayer 
Wise  to  be  so  honored  while  a  professor  at  the  Hebrew  Union 
College. 

But  all  this  does  not  express  the  man  Jacob  Rader  Marcus. 
Perhaps  words  alone  will  never  be  able  to  fix  him  clearly. 
Words  like  "warmth,"  "geniality,"  "comprehension,"  "honor," 
"dignity,"  remain  words;  they  cannot  convey  the  experience 
of  being  with  the  man,  sharing  his  thoughts,  knowing  his 
idealism,  receiving  his  help,  partaking  of  the  excitement  of 
discovery  with  him,  and,  above  all,  learning,  from  his  vast 
store  of  knowledge,  not  only  of  Jewish  history,  but  also  of  the 
human  situation  and  the  role  of  man  in  God's  world. 

Philadelphia,  Pa.  BERTRAM  W.  KORN 


xvn 


ESS  ATS  IN 
AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 


Jacob  Racier  Marcus 

A  Biographical  Sketch 


STANLEY  F.  CHYET 


J. 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  was  twenty  years  old  in 
1916,  In  that  year,  he  published  one  of  his  earliest  articles  —  in 
the  Jewish  Community  Bulletin  of  Wheeling,  West  Virginia.  The 
article  was  entitled,  "America:  The  Spiritual  Center  of  Jewry." 
American  Jewish  history  would  have  some  thirty  years  to  wait 
before  its  foundations  as  a  scientific  historical  study  were  estab- 
lished, largely  through  the  efforts  of  this  son  of  immigrant 
parents,  but  already  in  the  youth  of  twenty  there  stirred  love 
and  concern  for  the  life  of  American  Jewry, 


In  the  year  1889,  a  twenty-four-year-old  immigrant  named 
Aaron  Marcus  arrived  in  New  York  from  Hamburg,  Germany. 
The  German  port  had  been  but  a  way  station  for  the  young 
man  who  had  been  known  as  Markelson  in  his  native  Lithuania 
and  in  Tiflis  where  he  had  served  in  the  army  of  the  Czar. 
Marcus  was  the  name  which  Aaron  Markelson  had  taken  for 
himself  during  the  months  he  spent  in  Germany.  Perhaps  that 
was  how  he  washed  away  the  luckless  Eastern  past  which  had 

Rabbi  Stanley  F.  Chyet  is  the  Harrison  Jules  Louis  Frank  and  Leon  Harrison 
Frank  Research  Fellow  in  American  Jewish  History  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College  - 
Jewish  Institute  of  Religion  in  Cincinnati. 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

permitted  a  lung  ailment  to  claim  his  father's  young  life,  had 
invoked  the  May  Laws  of  1882  to  dispossess  the  Markelsons  of 
their  old  homestead  at  Podwerynka,  and  had  compelled  Aaron 
himself  to  endure  five  military  years  in  the  Caucasus. 

New  York,  too,  proved  only  a  way  station.  Little  more  than 
a  year  after  his  arrival  in  America,  Aaron  Marcus  found  his 
way  to  Pittsburgh.  Why  he  went  there  is  unknown,  but  we 
know  that  he  peddled  his  way  there  with  a  basket  of  notions.  It 
was  in  Pittsburgh  that  he  became  an  American  citizen,  and  it 
was  there,  too,  that  he  married  Jennie  Reider  (pronounced 
"Rader"),  about  the  year  1893.  A  year  later,  Jennie  Rader 
Marcus  gave  birth  to  their  first  child,  whom  they  named  Isaac, 
after  Aaron's  father.  Jennie's  father,  Isaiah  Reider,  had  been  a 
practicing  physician  in  the  Lithuanian  gubernia  of  Kovno. 
Although  lacking  a  medical  degree,  he  had  performed  opera- 
tions with  anesthetics.  In  all  likelihood,  he  had  studied  at  a 
medical  school  in  Russia  or  Austria,  but  in  accordance  with 
the  anti-Semitic  dictates  of  the  time,  had  never  received  a 
diploma.  During  the  early  iSgo's,  he  had  come  to  New  York 
to  practice  medicine,  but  had  soon  returned  to  Europe.  Jennie 
and  some  of  her  sisters  had  remained  in  the  United  States. 

After  some  experiences,  most  of  which  were  not  particularly 
happy,  in  the  Pittsburgh  steel  mills,  Aaron  Marcus  became  a 
peddler  of  tinware.  The  panic  of  the  early  1 890*3  may  have 
been  largely  responsible  for  his  withdrawal  from  the  steel  mills* 
Before  long  he  turned  from  peddling  tinware  to  peddling  cloth- 
ing in  the  coal-and-coke-oven  area  around  Gonnellsville  and 
New  Haven,  Pennsylvania,  and  the  Marcus  family  soon  moved 
to  New  Haven.  There,  on  March  5,  1896,  a  second  son  was 
born,  Jacob  Rader.  Some  three  years  later,  Jennie  Marcus  gave 
birth  to  twins,  Frank  and  Ethel. 

Sometime  after  Jacob's  birth,  Aaron  Marcus  traveled  briefly 
through  East  Texas,  but  the  lawlessness  of  the  region  soon 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

persuaded  him  to  return  to  Pennsylvania.  Around  1900,  when 
Jacob  Marcus  was  four,  the  family  settled  in  Homestead, 
Pennsylvania,  a  town  on  which,  in  1892,  the  violence  of  the 
iron  and  steel  workers5  strike  had  conferred  a  dubious  fame. 
Aaron  Marcus  opened  a  clothing  store  in  Homestead,  and  the 
Marcuses  remained  in  the  neighborhood  until  1907,  when 
Aaron  went  into  business  on  the  south  side  of  Pittsburgh, 

Jacob  Marcus*  memories  of  Homestead  have  little  to  do  with 
the  labor  strife  that  had  made  the  town  notorious  four  years 
before  his  birth.  He  remembers  selling  newspapers  —  not  very 
successfully  —  with  his  older  brother  Isaac,  and  working  in 
his  fathers  store  when  he  was  no  older  than  ten.  At  Theodor 
HerzPs  death  in  1904,  he  sold  pictures  of  the  great  dreamer  for 
the  benefit  of  Homestead's  local  Zionist  society,  which  Aaron 
Marcus  probably  served  as  secretary.  He  also  attended  the  local 
afternoon  cheder  (traditional  Jewish  religious  school),  where  he 
learned  to  read  a  few  Hebrew  texts,  though  never  to  translate 
them,  and  heard  an  occasional  talmudic  tale  from  the  teacher, 
who  was  a  shohet  (ritual  slaughterer)  as  well,  and  slaughtered 
chickens  in  the  backyard  of  the  synagogue.  It  was  in  Homestead, 
too,  that  Jacob  Marcus'  love  for  history  first  awakened.  Home- 
stead had  a  Carnegie  library,  and  the  young  boy  patronized  it 
liberally.  He  began  reading  the  historical  novels  of  George 
Alfred  Henty,  There  were  dozens  of  the  Henty  juveniles,  and 
Jacob  continued  to  read  them  when  the  family  moved  to 
Pittsburgh.  There,  too,  his  Hebrew  education  was  continued 
as,  during  the  week,  a  melammed  (religious  tutor)  would  visit 
the  house  on  Carson  Street,  and  on  Sundays  the  boy  would 
cross  the  Monongahela  to  attend  religious  school  at  the  Beth 
Midrash  Hagadol  on  Washington  Street. 

Pittsburgh,  as  it  turned  out,  was  but  another  of  Aaron  Marcus5 
way  stations.  In  1907  or  1908,  his  business  failed,  and  the 
family  moved  to  Wheeling,  West  Virginia,  where  it  remained 

3 


STANLEY  F.   CHYET 

some  eight  years.  Here,  in  Wheeling,  Jacob  Marcus  began  high 
school,  became  bar  mitzvah  (attained,  in  traditional  fashion,  his 
religious  majority)  at  the  Orthodox  synagogue,  and  attended 
Sunday  school  at  the  Eoff  Street  Reform  Congregation,  whose 
rabbi  at  the  time  was  Harry  Levi,  later  of  Temple  Israel  in 
Boston.  It  was  Marcus'  first  contact  with  Reform  Jewry  and 
the  Reform  rabbinate. 

About  two  years  after  the  family's  arrival  in  Wheeling, 
Marcus  was  confirmed  at  the  Reform  temple  —  in  June,  1910. 
He  continued,  however,  to  regard  himself  as  an  Orthodox  Jew, 
and  the  fact  that  "ethnic"  lines  were  at  the  time  drawn  rather 
sharply  in  towns  like  Wheeling  only  strengthened  his  views. 
When,  therefore,  in  1910,  Rabbi  Levi  suggested  to  him  that  he 
consider  a  career  in  the  Reform  rabbinate,  the  young  confirmand 
balked.  Levi,  in  whose  debt  Marcus  has  always  felt  himself,  had 
been  impressed  by  the  boy's  achievements  at  the  Sunday  school. 
Even  at  that  early  age,  largely  as  a  result  of  his  voracious  reading 
of  historical  novels  and  the  example  of  his  father,  who  loved  to 
read  the  Hebrew  Bible,  Jacob  Marcus  had  acquired  a  note- 
worthy command  of  biblical  history.  He  was  the  outstanding 
student  at  the  Sunday  school.  Levi's  suggestion,  however,  did 
not  please  the  Marcus  family,  to  whom  at  the  time  the  Jewish 
Theological  Seminary  of  America,  Solomon  Schechter's  Con- 
servative school  in  New  York,  appeared  more  attractive  than 
the  Hebrew  Union  College,  the  Reform  seminary  in  Cincinnati. 
The  rabbi  was  persistent,  nonetheless,  and  in  addition  to 
teaching  his  young  prot6g6  Hebrew  translation  and  grammar, 
he  lent  him  a  number  of  Jewish  books.  At  about  the  same  time, 
the  boy  read  Israel  Abrahams'  Jewish  Life  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
a  book  which  greatly  appealed  to  him.  His  growing  interest  in 
history  was  further  reflected  in  the  pleasure  which  he  derived 
from  his  classes  in  ancient  and  medieval  history  at  the  Wheeling 
high  school,  where  he  also  studied  some  Latin. 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

Jacob  Marcus  was  fifteen  in  1911.  In  the  fall  of  that  year, 
he  went  to  Cincinnati  to  begin  his  rabbinical  training  at  the 
Hebrew  Union  College,  which  was  then  located  on  Sixth  Street, 
in  the  downtown  slums,  and  was  presided  over  by  Kaufmann 
Kohler.  He  attended  classes  at  Woodward  and  later  at  Hughes 
High  School  in  the  morning,  and  went  to  the  seminary  in  the 
afternoon.  After  graduating  from  Hughes  in  1913,  he  matric- 
ulated at  the  University  of  Cincinnati  and  continued  his  studies 
at  the  College.  An  observant  Orthodox  adolescent  in  the  heart 
of  Reform,  the  "emigre"  from  Wheeling  was,  initially  at  least, 
somewhat  frightened  and  homesick.  The  intellectual  growth 
which  he  underwent  in  the  "Queen  City"  was,  however,  un- 
conscious, but  impressive.  In  high  school,  he  studied  English 
literature,  particularly  Shakespeare,  as  well  as  Latin,  Greek, 
and  German.  Around  1913,  he  also  studied  ecclesiastical  history 
for  a  year,  at  Cincinnati's  Lane  Theological  Seminary.  He 
was  the  best  student  in  the  class  —  much  to  the  astonishment, 
no  doubt,  of  his  classmates  and  instructors,  who  must  have 
wondered  at  the  precocious  youngster.  Some  of  them  attempted 
to  convert  the  "young  Hebrew,"  as  they  called  him,  but  Marcus, 
who  had  come  to  understand  that  they  meant  him  no  harm, 
was  not  offended.  The  experience  of  living  closely  with  Christians 
for  the  first  time  in  his  life  tended  to  broaden  his  spiritual 
horizons.  Years  later,  when  he  participated  in  Reform-sponsored 
Institutes  of  Judaism  for  the  Christian  clergy,  the  constant  give 
and  take  of  argument  with  Christian  clergymen  served  to  extend 
his  horizons  even  further  and,  at  the  same  time,  to  give  him  a 
precise  understanding  of  the  liberal  faith  towards  which  he 
had  slowly  and  painfully  made  his  way. 

At  the  University,  Marcus  was  particularly  enthralled  by 
Merrick  Whitcomb's  lectures  on  medieval  history  and  on  the 
French  Revolution.  Marcus'  exposure  to  American  history, 
curiously  enough,  appeared  anything  but  promising;  he  was 

5 


STANLEY  F.  CHYET 

only  negatively  impressed  by  Isaac  Joslin  Cox,  who  lectured 
in  that  subject. 

The  Hebrew  Union  College,  which  shortly  after  Marcus' 
arrival  in  Cincinnati  had  moved  to  its  present  site  on  Clifton 
Avenue,  offered  him  an  intellectual  experience  rather  different 
from  the  one  which  he  was  afforded  at  the  University.  There, 
at  the  College,  under  the  exacting  guidance  of  Julian  Morgen- 
stern  and  Henry  Englander,  Jacob  Marcus  made  substantial 
gains  in  his  grasp  of  Hebrew  grammar  and  biblical  criticism. 
Although,  in  spare  moments  during  those  early  years  in  Cincin- 
nati, he  had  begun  to  read  the  English  translation  of  Heinrich 
Graetz's  History  of  the  Jews  purely  for  pleasure,  he  came  before 
very  long  to  detect  in  himself  more  than  a  passing  taste  for 
general  Jewish  history.  Scholarship  grants  enabled  him  to  begin 
building  a  large  Jewish  library,  and  he  read  widely,  if  not 
wisely.  Almost  from  the  very  beginning,  he  evinced  a  warm 
interest  in  the  history  of  his  people.  A  more  formal  instruction  in 
Jewish  history  was  provided  him  at  the  College  by  Gotthard 
Deutsch.  It  was  Deutsch,  more  than  anyone  else  at  the  time,  or 
perhaps  even  since,  who  made  Marcus  alive  to  the  study  that 
was  ultimately  to  become  the  substance  of  his  intellectual  life* 
Marcus  himself  has  said  of  Deutsch: 

He  became  a  great  influence  on  me*  In  part,  he  influenced  me  because 
of  his  personality.  For  the  most  part,  I  was  influenced  by  his  method. 
He  was  essentially  a  skeptic,  a  realist.  He  believed  practically  nothing 
in  history.  He  believed  only  in  facts,  and  wanted  to  be  pretty  sure 
before  he  would  accept  the  fact.  He  was  in  essence  an  annalist*  He 
was  also  a  great  deal  of  a  debunker  ....  Deutsch  emphasized  the 
anecdote,  social  history,  and  was  very  much  interested  in  the  details 
of  the  lives  of  individuals.  I  was  influenced  by  this  approach.  * 

The  extent  to  which  this  influence  continued  to  operate,  the 
fruit  which  it  bore,  commands  perhaps  no  testimony  more 

*  This  and  the  follo\ving  direct  quotations  arc  taken  from  a  brief  autobiographical 
manuscript  prepared  by  Dr.  Marcus. 

6 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

•eloquent  than  the  two  volumes  of  Early  American  Jewry  and  the 
three  of  Memoirs  of  American  Jews:  1775-1865  which  Marcus,  by 
then  become  one  of  the  most  distinguished  of  American  rabbis 
and  Jewish  historians,  was  to  publish  some  three  and  a  half 
decades  later. 

Julian  Morgenstern,  too,  exerted  a  considerable  influence  on 
the  developing  young  scholar.  Morgenstern,  to  be  sure,  was  "a 
severe  teacher,"  but  Marcus  "learned  to  enjoy  his  classes"  in 
biblical  criticism.  From  Morgenstern  he  "really  learned  the 
critical  method."  It  was,  as  the  years  would  bear  abundant 
witness,  a  lesson  of  paramount  importance  and  value. 

Yet  Marcus  was  not  content  with  Cincinnati  alone.  During 
one  of  his  vacations  from  the  College,  he  spent  a  financially 
precarious  summer  at  the  University  of  Chicago  Divinity  School 
where,  among  other  things,  he  waited  on  tables  and  studied 
Egyptian  history  with  James  H.  Breasted. 

In  1914,  the  Hebrew  Union  College  student  body  founded  its 
own  literary  magazine.  The  first  number  of  the  Hebrew  Union 
College  Monthly  appeared  in  June  of  that  year  under  the  editorship 
of  an  upperclassman,  Abba  Hillel  Silver.  Eight  issues  were 
published  that  first  year,  and  the  last  two,  dated  April  and 
May  of  1915,  included  two  book  reviews  by  a  member  of  the 
class  of  1919,  Jacob  Marcus.  As  he  himself  has  said,  he  "worked 
very  laboriously"  on  these  productions.  In  one  of  them,  a 
review  of  Israel  Cohen's  Jewish  Life  in  Modern  Times,  Marcus 
took  Cohen  to  task  for  forgetting,  in  his  Zionist  zeal,  that  he 
was  "supposed  to  be  an  impartial  historian."  Later,  in  1917, 
Marcus  himself  became  editor  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College 
Monthly. 

It  was  in  1916  that  Marcus  received  his  first  professional 
fee  —  $10.00  —  from  Joseph  Jacobs,  the  editor  of  the  American 
Hebrew,  for  an  article  on  the  famous  Eastern  European  Yiddish 
writer,  Mendele  Mocher  Seforim.  Conscientious  scholar  that 

7 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

he  already  was,  it  was  a  source  of  some  grief  to  him  that  he  had 
had  to  work  from  secondary  sources  only,  and  the  ten  dollars 
did  not  make  him  feel  any  better.  He  was  all  too  painfully 
aware  of  his  inadequate  grasp  of  primary  materials,  not  to 
mention  his  meager  knowledge  of  the  classical  languages  and 
of  rabbinic  Hebrew.  During  the  years  to  come,  he  went  to 
great  pains  to  make  up  the  deficiency. 

On  April  6,  1917,  President  Woodrow  Wilson  led  the  United 
States  into  the  war  against  Germany,  and  all  of  Marcus5 
scholastic  plans  were  temporarily  suspended.  Some  three  weeks 
later,  on  the  thirtieth  of  April,  two  months  before  he  was  to 
receive  his  B.A.  degree  from  the  University  of  Cincinnati, 
Marcus  volunteered  as  a  private  in  the  United  States  Army, 
although  as  a  theological  student  he  was  exempt  from  the 
draft.  Fortunately,  during  the  first  months  with  the  Army, 
Marcus  was  stationed  in  Ohio  and  was  able  to  take  his  bac- 
calaureate at  the  University  in  June. 

The  Army,  by  Marcus'  own  testimony,  "settled"  him.  He 
"ran  into  some  anti-Semitism,  but,  on  the  whole,  .  . .  was  well 
treated.55  Shortly  after  his  graduation  from  the  University  of 
Cincinnati,  he  was  sent  to  France,  where  he  spent  some  nine 
or  ten  months  with  the  American  Expeditionary  Force.  Happily, 
though  under  fire  on  several  occasions,  he  was  spared  participa- 
tion in  active  engagements,  and  passed  most  of  his  French 
sojourn  in  a  relatively  quiet  sector.  Throughout  his  military 
service,  he  conducted  religious  services  for  his  Jewish  comrades, 
frequently  right  behind  the  lines.  Out  of  his  wartime  experiences 
caine  a  number  of  articles,  including  "The  Jewish  Soldier" 
in  the  Hebrew  Union  College  Monthly  in  1918,  "Lost:  Judaism  in 
the  AEF;  the  Urgent  Need  for  Welfare  Workers55  in  the  American 
Hebrew  in  1919,  and,  in  the  same  year,  "Religion  and  the 
Jewish  Soldier55  in  The  Community  Voice  of  the  Allentown  [Pa.] 
8 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

Jewish  Community  Center.  By  the  time  he  was  separated  from 
the  service  in  May,  1919,  he  had  risen  to  a  second  lieutenant's 
rank  and  was  the  acting  commander  of  his  company  in  the 
1 45th  United  States  Infantry.  He  was  then  twenty-three 
years  old. 

In  June,  1920,  a  year  after  his  return  from  the  Army,  Jacob 
Marcus  was  ordained  a  rabbi  at  the  College  in  Cincinnati. 
In  fulfillment  of  the  College's  requirements  for  ordination,  he 
had  written  a  thesis  of  some  200  pages,  An  Investigation  into  Polish 
Jewish  Life  of  the  Sixteenth  Century  with  Special  Reference  to  Isaac 
ben  Abraham^  Author  of  Hizzuk  Emunah.  Shortly  after  Marcus3 
ordination,  David  Philipson,  the  rabbi  of  Cincinnati's  Bene 
Israel  Congregation  and  a  powerful  member  of  the  College's 
Board  of  Governors,  recommended  to  President  Kohler  that 
the  young  scholar  be  appointed  to  the  College  faculty  as  an 
instructor  in  Bible  and  Rabbinics.  At  first,  the  new  instructor 
was  authorized  to  teach  only  biblical  history  and  other  subjects 
in  Bible  and  Rabbinics,  but  on  Deutsch's  death  in  1921,  Marcus 
found  himself  in  charge  of  all  the  College's  classes  in  general 
Jewish  history.  He  also  found  himself  among  the  executors  of 
Deutsch's  literary  estate,  an  experience  that  in  itself  was  to 
have  meaning  for  his  future  development: 

When  I  saw  how  [Deutsch's]  books  were  thrown  around,  I  lost  all 
respect  for  books  as  sacred  entities  in  themselves.  Since  that  time,  I 
have  never  hesitated,  when  necessary,  to  destroy  a  book  by  marking 
it  as  I  saw  fit.  I  have  learned  that  books  are  instruments  and  not 
masters. 

Deutsch,  his  brilliance,  critical  acumen,  and  insight  not- 
withstanding, had  been  a  thoroughly  unsystematic  teacher. 
Now,  under  Marcus'  aegis,  the  students  at  the  College  had  to 
read  Jewish  history  systematically  for  the  first  time  in  a  genera- 
tion. Yet  his  new  duties  quickly  convinced  Marcus  that  his 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

own  inadequacies  in  the  field  of  Jewish  history  stood  in  need  of 
substantial  correction,  and  he  determined  to  subject  himself  to 
the  discipline  of  a  European  training. 

The  Marcus  family  had,  in  the  meantime,  moved  to  Farm- 
ington,  West  Virginia,  where  at  length  it  had  achieved  a 
measure  of  prosperity.  With  his  father's  help,  therefore,  the 
erstwhile  soldier  found  it  possible,  in  the  summer  of  1922,  to 
return  to  Europe,  this  time  as  a  student.  He  remained  there 
four  years. 

Marcus*  European  pilgrimage  had  been  motivated  primarily 
by  his  desire  to  study  with  Ismar  Elbogen  at  Berlin's  Jewish 
theological  seminary,  the  Lehranstalt.  For  the  most  part,  how- 
ever, as  it  turned  out,  he  studied  at  the  University  of  Berlin. 
Originally  it  had  been  his  intention  to  explore  the  social  and 
economic  history  of  the  Middle  Ages,  but  he  soon  discovered 
that  he  was  inadequately  equipped  to  execute  his  plan  and 
that,  in  many  areas,  he  would  have  to  "start  from  scratch," 
as  it  were.  He  sought  for  himself,  therefore,  private  instruction 
in  Medieval  Latin,  Hebrew,  and  Middle  High  German.  Among 
his  tutors  was  Fritz  Baer,  whom  Marcus  has  since  characterized 
as,  "technically,  the  greatest  historian  we  [Jews]  have  yet 
produced." 

Perhaps  the  chief  of  his  obstacles,  Marcus  found,  was  his 
lack  of  ease  in  reading  German.  It  took  him  a  year  before  he 
was  able  to  read  German  with  a  measure  of  fluency,  and  at 
length,  in  the  summer  of  1923,  finding  that  he  had  too  much 
occasion  to  speak  English  —  and  too  little  to  speak  German  — 
in  Berlin,  he  went  to  Kiel  to  perfect  his  grasp  of  the  language. 
He  did  learn  German  in  Kiel,  but  missed  there  Berlin's  Jewish 
associations,  so  vital,  he  felt,  to  his  Jewish  development.  He 
also  missed  in  Kiel  the  stimulus  of  men  like  Fritz  Baer  and 
Jacob  Jacobsbn,  the  archivist  for  German  Jewry,  and  the 
companionship  of  the  'cellist  Maurice  Eisenberg,  a  fellow 

JO 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

American,  He  missed,  too,  the  warmth  of  the  Chassidic  services 
to  which  he  had  been  attracted  in  Berlin's  East  European 
ghetto  and  the  glow  of  the  ultra-Orthodox  Adath  Israel  Syn- 
agogue of  which,  liberal  religionist  though  he  was,  he  had 
become  a  contributing  member.  Other  Berlin  synagogues, 
notably  the  Jewish  Reform  Congregation  in  the  Johannisstrasse 
and  the  Orthodox  Alte  Synagoge  in  the  Heidereutergasse, 
failed  to  compel  his  interest,  Marcus'  intimates  are  well  aware 
of  the  fact  that  the  former  West  Virginian  with  his  dry  humor 
and  his  ironic  "wisecracks"  is  no  "highbrow."  He  is  not  overly 
fond  of  pompous  people*  As  in  later  years  with  music,  so  now 
with  synagogal  worship,  he  preferred  schmaltz  to  elegance  and 
restraint* 

Life  in  Germany  proved  "desperately  lonely"  for  him.  It 
was,  in  many  respects,  the  first  year  in  Cincinnati  all  over 
again.  He  was  compelled  to  work  very  hard,  and  found  little 
time  to  make  friends.  The  loneliness  was  somewhat  alleviated, 
however,  in  the  summer  of  1923  when  three  College  friends 
from  Cincinnati  —  Nelson  Glueck,  Walter  E.  Rothman,  and 
Sheldon  H.  Blank  —  arrived  in  Germany  to  pursue  doctoral 
studies.  In  that  year  of  1923,  Marcus  also  met  Antoinette  Brody, 
a  young  music  student  from  New  York. 

The  scholastic  labors  which  Marcus  had  so  tirelessly  endured 
since  his  arrival  in  Berlin  three  years  before  led,  in  October, 
1925,  to  his  Ph.D.  degree.  Since  the  University  authorities  in 
Berlin  declined  to  accept  a  Jewish  subject,  he  was  advised  to 
write  his  doctoral  dissertation  on  the  mercantile  relations 
between  England  and  the  Hanseatic  League.  That  dissertation, 
Die  handelspolitischen  Beziehungen  zwischen  England  und  Deutschland 
in  den  Jahren  1576-1585,  was  published  in  Berlin  by  Eberling  in 
1925.  It  was  dedicated  to  "Pretty  Nettie  Brody." 

By  the  spring  of  1924,  Marcus  had  fallen  in  love  with 
Antoinette  Brody,  and  at  the  end  of  1925,  the  two  were  married 

ii 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

in  Paris,  where  he  had  gone  to  study  French.  After  a  brief 
honeymoon,  Antoinette  returned  to  Berlin  to  continue  her 
studies.  Marcus  had  intended  to  remain  in  Paris  for  some  time, 
but  a  few  days  later  followed  "Pretty  Nettie"  back  to  Berlin. 

In  the  fall  of  1926,  Marcus  returned  to  Cincinnati,  but  not 
until  he  had  first  spent  three  months  in  Palestine.  His  hope  had 
been  to  learn  modern  Hebrew,  but  it  had  met  with  only  partial 
realization.  Four  difficult  years  in  Europe  had  left  him  too 
fatigued  to  endure  the  rigors  of  a  kibbutz  existence,  and  it  was 
in  the  kibbutzim  that  Hebrew-speaking  people  were  to  be  found. 
He  did,  however,  learn  to  read  modern  Hebrew. 

Formidable  though  his  years  abroad  had  been,  and  insuper- 
able as  some  of  the  obstacles  which  he  encountered  must  have 
seemed,  the  European  sojourn  was  of  permanent  value  to  him. 
In  Europe,  Marcus  had  found  —  and  seized  upon  • —  the  op- 
portunity to  become  a  cultured  as  well  as  a  learned  human 
being.  Despite  his  thralldom  to  a  relentless  doctoral  program, 
he  had  found  time  to  associate  with  artists,  musicians,  and 
other  people  of  culture.  The  association  had  not  failed  of  effect. 
He  had,  moreover,  disciplined  himself  to  accept  the  unremitting 
demands  of  a  life  of  scientific  scholarship.  If,  in  the  years  to 
come,  that  would  not  lead  to  a  life  of  great  leisure  and  social 
activity,  it  would  lead  to  a  life  of  personal  creativity  and  achieve- 
ment. He  was  fortunate,  too,  for  although  Antoinette's  interests 
were  primarily  musical,  she  remained  admirably  patient  with 
all  the  demands  which  her  husband's  academic  work  made  on 
both  their  lives  and  did  everything  to  further  Marcus*  career. 
His  wife's  gaiety  and  joie  de  viure,  moreover,  presented  a  much- 
needed  contrast  to  Marcus'  tense  and  even  hypersensitive 
temperament. 

The  years  which  followed  his  return  to  the  College  in  1926 
presented  him  with  many  opportunities  and  many  challenges. 
In  May  of  1929,  his  wife  bore  him  a  daughter.  Merle,  now  an 
12 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

accomplished  musician  and  actress  living  in  New  York  City. 
His  relationship  to  her  has  always  been  very  close,  and  the  two 
have  always  enjoyed  a  warm  camaraderie.  The  year  1929  also 
brought  the  bitter  hardship  of  the  great  depression.  New  prob- 
lems and  responsibilities  beset  him  upon  the  death  of  Aaron 
Marcus  in  April,  1932.  Marcus*  courses  at  the  College  were 
subject,  moreover,  to  frequent  changes,  and  he  was  constantly 
under  the  necessity  of  exploring  new  areas  of  Jewish  scholarship. 
In  the  course  of  his  years  at  the  College,  he  found  himself 
entrusted  with  classes  in  history,  Bible,  Rabbinics,  modern 
Hebrew,  ceremonials,  and  other  subjects.  Yet,  as  a  teacher,  he 
learned  a  great  deal. 

Particularly  in  Jewish  history,  Marcus  achieved  for  himself 
an  excellent  background.  Early  in  his  career,  he  worked  through 
all  the  eleven  volumes  of  Graetz's  History  of  the  Jews.,  both  in 
German  and  in  Hebrew,  and  with  all  the  notes.  For  Marcus, 
Graetz  was,  and  remained,  "the  great  master."  He  has  said  of 
Graetz: 

He  is  a  fabulous  figure,  and  I  am  annoyed  when  people  attack  him. 
His  arrangement  of  material  is  bad,  but  he  had  vision  and  ideas, 
imagination  and  verve,  and  a  tremendous  capacity  to  absorb  material. 
On  the  whole,  his  methodology  is  excellent.  He  is  as  much  a  genius 
for  the  Jews  as  [Leopold  von]  Ranke  for  general  history.  It  is  too  bad 
that  Graetz  never  came  to  history  as  a  [professional]  historian,  but 
primarily  as  a  literary  historian. 

Marcus  himself  worked  through  many  of  the  basic  source 
materials.  Unlike  Graetz,  he  had  come  to  Jewish  history  as  a 
professional  historian  with  a  general  historical  background.  In 
his  approach  to  history,  Marcus  made  every  effort  to  avoid  an 
unscientific  chauvinism.  It  was  rather  accuracy  and  critical 
methodology  that  occupied  him  and  fashioned  his  presentation 
of  historical  material.  He  had  "no  special  angles  as  a  Jew  in 
writing  history,"  and  the  general  background  always  seemed 

13 


STANLEY  F.  CHYET 

important  to  him.  He  attempted,  then  as  now,  to  interpret 
his  material  "in  the  light  of  its  own  time  and  ideals  and  prej- 
udices, but  at  the  same  time  .  .  .  to  relate  the  material  to 
present-day  Jewish  life  and  institutions  and  present-day  Jewish 
interests. . .  ."  And  so,  as  the  years  following  his  return  from 
Europe  passed,  he  continued  to  work  and  to  grow.  A  spate  of 
articles  issued  from  his  study.  Still,  as  an  ominous  "New  Order" 
dawned  in  Central  Europe,  no  book  had  come  from  his  pen. 

Actually,  Marcus  had  written  a  "book"  in  1928.  Published  in 
the  thirty-eighth  volume  of  the  Central  Conference  of  American 
Rabbis  Tearbook>  it  had  simply  not  appeared  in  book  form.  That 
first  "book"  was  "Israel  Jacobson,"  a  study  of  the  founder  of 
German  Reform.  In  Marcus'  opinion,  "nothing  better  has  ever 
been  written"  on  the  subject,  and  he  still  considers  it  one  of  his 
best  works.  It  was  subsequently  republished  as  an  offprint. 

With  the  Nazis'  rise  to  power  in  Germany,  Marcus  found 
himself  importuned  to  write  on  the  situation  as  it  affected  the 
Jews.  Reluctant  at  first  to  do  so,  he  consented  at  length,  and  in 
1 934  —  the  same  year  in  which  he  became  a  full  professor  of 
Jewish  history  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College  —  the  Union  of 
American  Hebrew  Congregations  published  his  first  "hard* 
cover"  book,  The  Rise  and  Destiny  of  the  German  Jew.  The  work 
went  through  two  editions,  and  a  year  later  extracts  from  it 
were  published  under  the  title,  "Les  Juifs  et  le  Nouvel  fitat 
Allemand,"  in  UUnivers  Israelite  of  Paris.  In  this  book,  Marcus 
made  certain  predictions  concerning  the  future  of  German 
Jewry.  The  fact  that  later  events  proved  most  of  them  wrong 
has  always  been  a  source  of  wry  amusement  to  him,  As  Marcus 
himself  has  said,  this  did  not  mean  that  he  was  a  poor  historian: 

When  it  comes  down  to  guessing,  dealing  with  human  intentions, 
the  ignoramus  is  just  as  competent  as  the  scientist.  The  ignoramus 
has  a  fifty  per  cent  chance  of  being  right  which  is  just  as  much  or 
just  as  little  as  the  scientist  has* 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

Marcus'  next  work  of  singular  importance  did  not  appear 
until  1 938.  In  that  year,  he  published  a  documentary  anthology, 
The  Jew  in  the  Medieval  World:  a  Source  Book:  315-1791.  In 
preparing  that  book,  Marcus  investigated  hundreds  of  different 
medieval  Jewish  sources.  He  was  able,  consequently,  to  acquire 
an  exceedingly  thorough  background  in  the  entire  field  of 
medieval  Jewish  history.  In  the  meantime,  in  1935,  he  had 
published  A  Brief  Introduction  to  the  Bibliography  of  Modern  Jewish 
History  and,  in  1937,  with  Albert  T.  Bilgray,  An  Index  to  Jewish 
Festschriften. 

With  the  publication  of  The  Jew  in  the  Medieval  World,  Marcus 
believed  that  he  had  found  the  field  in  which  he  wanted  to 
work:  the  social,  cultural,  and  economic  background  of  Central 
European  Jewry  from  the  sixteenth  to  the  nineteenth  century. 
Many  of  the  materials  relevant  to  this  period,  both  printed 
matter  and  manuscripts,  were  in  Early  Modern  Yiddish,  which 
he  had  learned  to  read  with  facility.  In  the  course  of  time,  he 
assembled  a  large  archives  of  original  material,  mastered  much 
of  the  technical  terminology,  and  learned  a  great  deal  about 
the  societal  structure  of  the  period.  A  decade  of  work  in  this 
research  culminated  at  length  in  a  number  of  essays  and  in  a 
book,  Communal  Sick-Care  in  the  German  Ghetto,  published  by  the 
Hebrew  Union  College  Press  in  1947.  The  book,  based  as  it  is 
on  rarely  exploited  sources,  remains  sui  generis  in  Jewish  histor- 
ical research.  In  May  of  the  preceding  year,  the  Board  of 
Governors  appointed  him  the  Adolph  S,  Ochs  Professor  of 
Jewish  History. 

By  the  time  that  Communal  Sick-Care  appeared,  the  extent  of 
the  Nazi  atrocities  had  been  revealed,  and  Marcus  knew  that 
the  Central  European  Jewry  to  whose  earlier  history  he  had 
so  long  devoted  himself  was  now  no  more  than  a  ghostly 
shambles.  The  Hitlerian  catastrophe  was  a  terrible  shock  to 
this  man  who  had  written  in  1934  that, 

15 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

barring  wholesale  expulsion  or  massacre,  which  seem  rather  remote 
even  under  the  implacable  hatred  of  the  National  Socialists,  what 
has  been  called  the  "Jewish  genius  for  survival"  will  manifest  itself 
in  Germany*  (The  Rise  and  Destiny  of  the  German  Jew,  p.  300) 

Marcus  knew  now,  in  1947,  that  for  the  Jews,  "Europe  was 
dead."  For  him,  too,  it  was  dead.  The  training  and  background 
in  research  which  he  had  developed  over  the  years  in  dealing 
with  European  Jewish  history  he  directed  now  to  an  investigation 
of  American  Jewish  history. 

It  was  not,  however,  a  sudden  volte-Jace.  As  he  himself  has 
said, 

By  1943,  I  was  veering  toward  American  Jewish  history,  although  I 
did  not  realize  that  I  was.  I  had  long  realized  that  America  was  to 
be  the  great  center  of  Jewish  life  for  the  future.  I  had  known  it  years 
before  this. 

As  early  as  March,  1931,  in  a  Founder's  Day  address  delivered 
at  the  Hebrew  Union  College,  Marcus  had  turned  his  attention 
to  "The  Americanization  of  Isaac  Mayer  Wise,"  and  all 
through  the  1930*5  he  had  come  to  place  increased  emphasis  on 
American  Jewry  in  his  courses  on  general  Jewish  history.  In 
1933,  the  second  volume  of  The  American  Scholar  had  included  an 
article  which  he  had  written  on  "Zionism  and  the  American 
Jew."  As  early,  indeed,  as  1934,  he  had  been  a  member  of  the 
American  Jewish  Historical  Society.  In  1942,  although  by  no 
means  fully  aware  of  the  extent  of  the  Hitlerian  tragedy, 
he  nevertheless  "sensed  the  growing  importance  of  American 
Jewish  history,"  for  in  the  summer  of  that  year  he  had  conducted 
the  first  required  course  in  American  Jewish  history  to  be 
given  in  an  American  college.  It  was  a  year  later  that  he  had 
drawn  up  "A  Brief  Bibliography  of  American  Jewish  History" 
for  the  Jewish  Book  Annual,  1943-44,  and  had  written  an  article 
on  "Jews"  for  the  Encyclopaedia  Britannica.  The  latter  dealt  with 
Jewish  life  in  the  modern  world  and  contained  material  relating 
16 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

to  Jews  in  the  United  States.  Reprinted  in  subsequent  issues  of 
the  Britannica,  it  was  the  first  attempt  at  a  scientific  account  of 
American  Jewish  history  in  a  standard  reference  work. 

It  was  during  the  1 940*8  that,  spurred  by  his  growing  interest 
in  American  Jewish  history,  Marcus  suggested  to  his  old  friend, 
Walter  E.  Rothman,  then  librarian  of  the  Hebrew  Union 
College,  that  an  American  Jewish  archives  be  developed  at  the 
Library.  With  Rothman's  aid,  a  collection  of  American  Jewish 
materials  was  initiated.  In  1946,  as  chairman  of  its  Committee 
on  Contemporary  History  and  Literature,  Marcus  recommended 
to  the  Central  Conference  of  American  Rabbis,  convened  in 
Chicago,  that  congregations  undertake  to  collect  and  preserve 
all  their  records,  and  in  the  following  year  he  recommended  to 
the  Montreal  convention  of  the  Central  Conference  that  the 
National  Jewish  Welfare  Board  be  requested  to  sponsor  a 
ccjewish  History  Week."  Nine  years  before,  Marcus  had  pre- 
vailed upon  his  friend,  Frank  L.  Weil,  of  the  Jewish  Welfare 
Board,  to  allocate  to  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society  a 
substantial  sum  to  finance  the  Society's  quarterly.  Although, 
a  few  years  later,  the  Welfare  Board  found  it  necessary  to 
withdraw  its  support  from  the  venture,  the  Society  was  able 
to  continue  publication  of  its  journal. 

In  1947,  one  of  Marcus5  great  dreams  was  realized.  In  that 
year,  Marcus  asked  President  Nelson  Glueck's  support  for  the 
nascent  archives,  and  was  instructed  to  establish  a  more  exten- 
sive, separate  national  institution.  With  the  help  of  J.  Victor 
Greenebaum,  a  Cincinnati  physician  and  a  member  of  the 
Hebrew  Union  College  Board  of  Governors,  the  board's  finan- 
cial support  was  obtained,  and  the  American  Jewish  Archives 
was  established  on  the  Cincinnati  campus  with  its  own  building 
and  staff  and  with  Marcus  as  its  Director.  In  time,  the  Archives 
became  the  largest  institution  of  its  kind,  not  only  in  the  Amer- 
ican Jewish,  but  in  the  general  Jewish  world  as  well.  Literally 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

hundreds  of  thousands,  if  not  millions,  of  pages  of  American 
Jewish  historical  materials,  many  of  them  on  microfilm,  were 
assembled  under  its  roof,  and  in  June,  1948,  the  first  number  of 
the  semiannual  American  Jewish  Archives  was  published. 

In  the  decade  since  its  founding,  the  Archives  has  become  one 
of  the  major  research  centers  of  American  Jewish  history,  with 
the  result,  as  Marcus  has  said,  that  "no  history  of  American 
Jewry  can  be  written  without  recourse  to  [its]  material."  Among 
the  Archives'  holdings  today  are  huge  collections  of  the  minutes 
of  Jewish  congregations  and  of  various  Jewish  societies  as  well 
as  many  special  collections,  including  the  papers,  originals  or 
copies,  of  the  colonial  Rhode  Island  merchant-prince  Aaron 
Lopez,  the  Canadian  merchant  Samuel  Jacobs,  Jacob  H.  Schiff, 
Louis  Marshall,  Felix  M.  Warburg,  Julius  Rosenwald,  and  a 
host  of  prominent  rabbis  and  Jewish  lay  leaders.  The  basic 
records  of  American  Jewry  since  the  eighteenth  century,  as  well 
as  many  seventeenth-century  materials,  are  well  represented 
in  the  Archives,  and  many  of  these  sources  have  been  catalogued 
so  as  to  facilitate  their  use  by  scholars.  In  addition,  detailed 
indices  of  American  Jewish  materials  in  European  periodical 
literature  have  been  prepared. 

Not  content  with  these  achievements,  Marcus  has  enlisted 
the  aid  of  interested  scholars,  largely  students  and  graduates 
of  the  College,  in  preparing  a  number  of  reference  works  basic 
to  research  in  American  Jewish  history.  It  is  not  too  much  to 
say  that  he  has  created  a  "school"  of  American  Jewish  history. 
Dozens  of  graduates  have  written  rabbinic  theses  in  this  new 
field.  Thus  he  encouraged  Earl  A.  Grollman  to  compile  a 
lexicon  of  seventeenth-century  American  Jews,  published  as  a 
"Dictionary  of  American  Jewish  Biography  in  the  Seventeenth 
Century"  in  the  American  Jewish  Archives  of  June,  1950;  and  he 
assisted  Joseph  R.  Rosenbloom  in  the  preparation  of  a  similar 
lexicon  for  eighteenth-century  American  Jewry.  Under  his 
18 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS  —  A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

guidance,  Allan  Tarshish  has  written  on  nineteenth-century 
German  American  Jewry,  and  Malcolm  H.  Stern  has  drawn 
up  the  genealogical  tables  so  necessary  and  hitherto  so  woefully 
lacking  in  this  research.  He  has,  furthermore,  inspired  Bertram 
W.  Korn  to  publish  a  number  of  valuable  books,  including 
American  Jewry  and  the  Civil  War,  Eventful  Tears  and  Experiences: 
Studies  in  Nineteenth  Century  American  Jewish  History,  and  The 
American  Reaction  to  The  Mortara  Case:  1858-1859,  the  latter  two 
published  by  the  Archives  itself.  Among  other  ventures  spon- 
sored by  the  Archives  are  an  index  to  Isaac  Leeser's  periodical, 
The  Occident,  from  1843  to  ^69,  currently  being  prepared  by 
Abraham  I.  Shinedling;  a  supplement  to  Abraham  S.  Wolf 
Rosenbach's  bibliographical  work  on  American  Judaica  up  to 
1850;  and  a  projected  bibliographical  catalogue  to  list  all 
American  Judaica  from  1851  to  1860. 

In  the  spring  of  1956,  Marcus  established  the  American 
Jewish  Periodical  Center  for  the  microfilming  of  every  Jewish 
serial  published  in  the  United  States  between  1823  and  1925, 
and  of  a  selective  group  after  that.  The  purpose  of  the 
Center  is  to  make  available  to  Jewish  scholars  throughout  the 
world  microfilms  of  Jewish  periodical  literature  on  interlibrary 
loan. 

Yet  in  the  midst  of  all  these  activities,  and  in  the  face  of  a 
protracted  illness  which  led  to  the  death  of  Antoinette  Marcus 
in  July,  1953,  Marcus  continued  to  teach  at  the  College  and  to 
pursue  his  own  research  projects.  He  continued  also  to  build 
his  private  library  of  Americana.  Comprising  an  extensive 
collection  of  manuscript  as  well  as  printed  materials,  it  is 
probably  the  most  complete  grouping  of  the  basic  tools  of 
American  Jewish  historical  research  in  existence.  In  1949,  his 
colleagues  in  the  Reform  rabbinate  had  honored  him  with 
election  to  the  presidency  of  the  Central  Conference  of  American 
Rabbis,  In  1956,  his  colleagues  in  American  Jewish  scholarship 

19 


STANLEY  F.  GHYET 

paid  their  tribute  by  electing  him  to  the  presidency  of  the 
American  Jewish  Historical  Society. 

In  1951,  the  Jewish  Publication  Society  of  America  published 
the  first  of  his  two  volumes  of  Early  American  Jewry.  This  dealt 
with  the  Jews  of  New  York,  New  England,  and  Canada  between 
1649  and  1794.  The  second  volume,  dealing  with  the  Jews  of 
Pennsylvania  and  the  South  between  1655  anc*  179°>  was 
published  by  the  Society  in  1953.  As  had  been  the  case  with 
Communal  Sick-Care  in  European  Jewish  historical  research,  so, 
too,  in  American  Jewish  historical  research,  Early  American 
Jewry  was  sui  generis.  About  a  fourth  of  the  second  volume  was 
devoted  to  a  survey  of  American  Jewry's  first  century  and  a 
half.  The  Jewish  Publication  Society  said  of  that  survey  that 
"for  brevity,  clarity,  and  inclusiveness  nothing  like  it  has  yet 
been  done."  Indeed,  among  the  handful  of  books  that  constitute 
the  scientific  literature  of  American  Jewish  history,  nothing  can 
rank  higher  than  the  two  volumes  of  Early  American  Jewry, 
Yet,  for  all  that,  the  volumes  were  written  with  such  skill  that 
the  lay  reader,  not  to  mention  the  scientific  historian,  could 
approach  them  with  as  much  pleasure  as  profit. 

Early  American  Jewry  was  followed,  in  1955,  ^Y  Memoirs  of 
American  Jews:  1775-1865,  three  volumes  of  American  Jewish 
autobiographical  material.  Published  by  the  Jewish  Publication 
Society,  these  volumes,  too,  will  serve  as  a  basic  source  for 
mid-nineteenth-century  American  Jewish  history. 

Honors,  sorrows,  and  achievements  have  not  caused  Marcus 
to  slacken  in  his  labors.  He  appears  virtually  tireless  in  pursuit 
of  the  goals  which  he  has  set  for  himself  and  for  a  scientific 
American  Jewish  history.  He  has  just  completed  a  large-scale 
documentary  collection  dealing  with  eighteenth-century  Amer- 
ican Jewry.  It  is  scheduled  to  appear  in  the  winter  of  1958.  For 
some  years,  too,  he  has  been  working  on  a  history  of  Colonial 
American  Jewry  through  1776.  He  plans  then  "to  write  a 
20 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS A  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH 

briefer  general  history  of  American  Jewry  and  to  sum  up  [his] 
studies  and  researches  in  the  field."  His  approach  to  the  work 
which  he  has  undertaken  with  such  ardor  and  dedication,  and 
with  such  notable  results,  is  nowhere  better  expressed  than  in 
his  own  words: 

I  have  no  specific  philosophy  of  American  Jewish  history.  As  in 
general  Jewish  history,  I  believe  that  the  Jew  is  closely  integrated 
with  his  background.  This  is  particularly  true  in  America  where  the 
Jews  have  never  been  a  distinct  political  group,  but  always  part  of 
the  American  body  politic.  I  am  very  much  interested  in  the  religious, 
social,  economic,  and  cultural  life  of  the  Jew  here.  I  believe  that  he 
is  a  cultural  entity,  has  always  been  one,  and  will  always  remain  one. 
I  believe  that  every  datum  in  American  Jewish  history  must  be 
carefully  analyzed  from  the  Jewish  and  the  general  points  of  view,  in 
relationship  to  Jewish  and  general  backgrounds.  I  think  it  is  a  mistake, 
however,  to  relate  Jewish  history  too  closely  to  some  of  the  major 
movements  in  general  American  history.  .  .  .  The  American  Jew  is 
not  completely  subject  to  his  general  American  background.  His 
history  may  be,  to  a  certain  extent,  independent  of  that  background, 
although  that  background  must  always  be  very  closely  studied. 


We  have  had  rather  little  to  say  of  Marcus  in  relationship 
to  his  students  —  and  for  the  best  of  reasons.  This  man  has 
exerted  so  profound  and  incalculable  an  influence,  both  personal 
and  professional,  on  those  who  have  studied  under  him  that,  in 
writing  of  him,  it  is  difficult  to  avoid  a  degree  of  feeling  which 
would  acutely  embarrass  him.  Suffice  it,  then,  to  say  that  no 
man  in  the  world  of  Jewish  scholarship  today  could  be  more 
universally  or  more  deservedly  loved  and  reverenced.  Were  it 
only  for  the  deep  interest  which  Marcus  has  always  taken  in  his 
students  and  for  the  unaffected  sympathy  which  he  has  always 
evinced  for  their  problems,  personal  as  well  as  academic,  this 
would  be  true.  But  there  has  been  much  more:  his  qualities  of 
personal  warmth  and  graciousness,  blended  as  they  are  with  a 

21 


STANLEY  F.  CHYET 

stern  and  unrelenting  quest  for  truth  and  for  accuracy,  have 
significantly  broadened  the  horizons  of  knowledge  and  percep- 
tion for  more  than  a  few  students. 

Alive  to  the  challenge  of  the  past,  Marcus  has  never  lost 
sight  of  the  future.  Whatever  the  devotion  and  concentration 
which  he  has  summoned  to  his  study  of  the  Jewish  past,  it  has, 
all  of  it,  been  motivated  by  devotion  and  concern  for  the  Jewish 
future.  That  future  will  be  immeasurably  the  richer  for  his- 
labors  in  its  behalf. 


A  Decisive  Pattern  in 

American  Jewish  History 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 


IHE  history  of  the  Jews  is  a  history  of  involvement. 
It  is  not  simply  the  history  of  a  people  living  in  a  specific  ge- 
ographical area  whose  development  can  be  treated  as  something 
largely  distinct  and  separate.  Jewish  history  is  not  the  history 
of  a  self-evolving  entity.  It  is  always,  at  one  and  the  same  time, 
both  a  history  of  that  which  is  distinct,  that  which  has  had  its 
special  delineation  in  time,  and  of  that  which  is  interwoven 
with  the  fate  of  empires  and  civilizations.  The  history  of  the 
Jews  is  intermeshed  with  the  history  of  the  ancient  Near  East, 
the  Hellenistic  world,  the  Roman  Empire,  the  Sassanian  dynasty, 
and  the  Moslem,  Christian,  and  Western  civilizations.  It  cannot 
be  torn  from  its  larger  context,  although  it  is  not  identical  with 
that  context. 

Each  society  in  which  the  Jews  grappled  with  the  problems 
of  existence  was  radically  different  from  the  society  which  had 
immediately  preceded  it  in  time,  or  from  a  contemporaneous 
society  in  another  place,  Medieval,  feudal  Christendom  was 
structurally  very  different  from  the  pagan  Roman  Empire.  The 
Moslem  structure,  although  existing  alongside  medieval,  feudal 
Christendom,  was  by  no  means  identical  with  it.  These  structures 
in  turn  were  made  up  of  substructures,  diverse  one  from  the 

Dr.  Ellis  Rivkin  is  Professor  of  Jewish  History  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College  -Jewish 
Institute  of  Religion  in  Cincinnati. 

23 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

other  and  often  in  conflict  with  each  other.  At  all  times  we  are 
confronted  with  unity  embracing  diversity  and  with  identity 
enclosing  difference.  The  Jews  in  their  involvement  refract  the 
unity  and  diversity,  the  identity  and  difference  which  char- 
acterize the  historical  continuum. 

Since  Jewish  history  has  been  as  diverse  as  that  of  civilization 
itself,  generalizations  are  inadequate  to  comprehend  it  in  all  its 
manifestations.  Jewish  institutional  forms,  for  example,  have 
varied  from  society  to  society.  They  have  been  monarchical, 
aristocratic,  oligarchical,  republican,  and  democratic.  Jews 
themselves  have  been  naive  and  sophisticated,  rationalistic  and 
mystical,  legalistic  and  moralistic,  heretical  and  traditional, 
liberal  and  reactionary,  scholarly  and  ignorant,  saintly  and 
sinful.  They  have  been  slaveowners  and  slaves,  merchants  and 
farmers,  moneylenders  and  artisans,  capitalists  and  proletarians, 
rich  and  poor.  They  have,  in  a  word,  been  human  beings 
wrestling  with,  and  reacting  to,  the  problems  of  life  in  the 
context  of  their  changing  economic,  social,  political,  and  reli- 
gious relationships.  The  uniqueness  of  Jewish  history,  therefore, 
does  not  derive  from  any  uniqueness  of  the  Jew  as  a  human 
being,  but  from  the  character  and  the  implication  of  a  history 
of  involvement. 

This  involvement,  however  diverse,  reveals  a  persistent 
pattern.  No  matter  how  different  the  society,  no  matter  what 
the  dominant  ideology,  the  Jews  in  each  case  experienced  a 
phase  of  acceptance  and  well-being  linked  to  the  expansion  of 
that  society,  and  a  phase  of  rejection  and  persecution  linked  to 
the  disintegration  and  collapse  of  that  society.  Every  society 
reveals  this  pattern.  The  fate  of  the  Jews  has  always  been 
inextricably  bound  up  with  the  fate  of  the  larger  society.  Each 
unique  experience  has  thus  revealed,  at  a  different  level  of 
complexity,  a  repetitive  pattern. 

Is  there  a  uniqueness  that  characterizes  the  history  of  the 
24 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

Jews  in  the  United  States?  If  there  is  such  a  uniqueness,  does  it 
display  the  repetitive  pattern?  Is  the  fate  of  the  Jews  in  the 
United  States  inextricably  bound  up  with  the  fate  of  the  country? 
And  if  its  fate  is  thus  bound  up  with  that  of  the  Jews,  will  this 
society  go  the  way  of  all  previous  societies,  or  will  its  ultimate 
fate  be  different? 

The  history  of  the  United  States  may  be  said  to  be  unique  in 
that  it  manifests  a  historical  evolution  which  is  dominated  by 
the  dynamics  of  expanding  capitalism.  Although  capitalism 
arose  in  Europe  and  penetrated  every  part  of  the  world,  it 
found  its  most  unrestricted  expression  in  the  United  States.  In 
no  other  area  did  capitalism  find  so  few  obstacles  to  its  restless 
dynamism,  and  nowhere  else  did  it  achieve  so  vast  and  so 
continuous  a  success. 

The  uniqueness  of  Jewish  experience  in  the  United  States  is 
thus  to  be  sought  in  the  relationship  of  the  Jews  to  capitalism 
in  its  purest  manifestation.  Never  before  in  their  history  had 
Jews  been  involved  in  such  a  structure.  Although  it  is  true  that 
the  Jews  in  seventeenth-century  England  and  Holland  —  and, 
to  a  lesser  extent,  in  France  and  Germany  —  were  radically 
affected  by  the  new  economic  system,  capitalism  never  became 
so  decisive  in  Europe  as  it  did  later  in  the  United  States.  Whereas 
in  Europe  the  Jews  only  gradually  came  to  experience  capitalism 
as  it  transformed  a  previous  economic  and  social  structure  of 
which  they  were  part,  in  the  United  States  the  Jews,  from  the 
outset,  came  into  contact  with  capitalism  as  the  dominant  and 
decisive  system  of  production. 

This  essay  is  intended  primarily  as  a  study  of  the  broad, 
historical  implications  of  this  experience.  We  shall  analyze  the 
effects  of  capitalistic  development  on  the  old  order  in  Europe, 
so  that  we  may  discover  the  roots  of  emigration,  and  we  shall 
analyze  also  the  character  of  capitalistic  development  in  the 
United  States,  so  as  to  discover  the  dynamics  of  immigration. 

25 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

We  shall  observe  the  contrast  between  the  impact  of  capitalism 
on  Europe,  with  its  precapitalist  structures,  and  on  the  United 
States,  where  the  impediments  were  less  stubborn  and  resistant. 
We  shall  then  be  in  a  position  to  assess  the  meaning  of  this 
unique  historic  experience  in  its  relationship  to  previous 
patterns.  * 


The  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  witnessed  the  vast 
growth  and  expansion  of  commercial  capitalism.  The  centers 
of  this  commercial  activity  were  concentrated  in  such  seaports 
as  London,  Amsterdam,  and  Hamburg.  From  these  ports  trade 
reached  out  across  the  Atlantic  to  the  newly  founded  colonies 
in  North  America,  to  the  trading  settlements  in  Central  and 
South  America,  to  the  Indies  and  China,  across  the  Mediter- 
ranean to  the  Levant,  and  through  the  interior  of  Germany  to 
the  capitals  of  the  numerous  princely  states.  Among  the  merchant 
capitalists  who  carried  on  these  far-flung  enterprises  were  many 
Jews,  a  good  proportion  of  whom  had  once  been  Marranos  in 
Spain  and  Portugal,  but  who  had  subsequently  settled  in  Lon- 

*  This  essay  docs  not  purport  to  be  a  detailed  analysis  of  American  Jewish  history, 
nor  does  it  pretend  to  deal  with  it  in  all  its  aspects.  In  considering  any  structural 
phase,  one  must  discern  its  relationship  not  only  to  the  prior  structure,  but  also  to 
the  structure  yet  to  emerge.  Every  structure  will  be  found  to  have  some  remnants 
of  the  previous  structure  as  well  as  some  intimations  of  the  structure  which  is  yet 
to  be.  In  considering  capitalism  in  its  various  phases,  therefore,  I  have  stressed  its 
dominant  structural  components.  I  am  aware,  of  course,  that  elements  of  a  prior 
phase  remain  important  and  active.  Undoubtedly  there  are  even  today  some 
fanners  who  till  the  soil  as  did  their  great-grandfathers;  there  are,  assuredly, 
many  shopkeepers  whose  way  of  doing  business  differs  very  little  from  the  way  in 
which  it  was  done  at  the  turn  of  the  century;  and  there  are  still  open-air  markets 
where  produce  is  sold  from  stalls.  Yet  one  can  scarcely  claim  that  the  structure  of 
our  contemporary  society  is  that  of  the  nineteenth  century.  In  this  essay  emphasis 
has  been  placed  upon  the  dynamic  elements  of  structural  change,  rather  than  on 
the  particulars  which  constitute  the  whole  at  any  given  moment. 

26 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

don,  Amsterdam,  and  Hamburg.  These  Spanish-Portuguese  Jews 
were  permitted  and  even  encouraged  to  engage  in  commercial 
capitalist  ventures,  some  of  which  brought  them  into  contact 
with  the  trading  cities  of  the  Western  Hemisphere. 

Another  group  of  entrepreneurs  who  had  always  been  profes- 
sing Jews  made  its  appearance  in  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth 
centuries.  These  were  the  Court  Jews,  who  served  the  princes 
of  Germany  in  a  variety  of  ways.  They  provisioned  the  armies, 
minted  money,  organized  trade,  and  provided  luxury  goods  for 
the  lavish  courts.  Their  commercial  activities  kept  them  in 
constant  touch  with  the  great  trading  centers  of  London, 
Amsterdam,  and  Hamburg  in  the  West,  and  with  the  important 
trading  centers  of  Poland  in  the  East. 

These  Court  Jews  made  use  of  agents  who  frequently  settled 
in  the  great  maritime  centers  and  undertook  employment  in 
the  trading  house  of  some  wealthy  Jewish  merchant.  Some  of 
these  enterprising  young  men  were  sent  off  as  agents  to  America 
or  went  on  their  own  account.  Frequently  they  took  advantage 
of  the  capitalistic  opportunities  in  the  colonies  to  buy  some 
goods  with  their  savings  and  to  become  merchant  capitalists 
themselves.  Some  of  them  remained  permanently  in  the  colonies, 
either  continuing  to  represent  the  firm,  or  completely  freeing 
themselves  from  their  ties  and  becoming  independent  cap- 
italists, engaged  in  trade  and  land  speculation. 

The  emigration  of  Jews  from  Europe  was  thus  an  aspect  of 
commercial  capitalism.  North  America  beckoned  to  enterprising, 
risk-taking  individuals  who  would  engage  in  trade  and  com- 
merce. It  was  those  Jews  who  were  swept,  irrespective  of  their 
place  of  origin,  into  the  capitalist  orbit  that  became  immigrants. 
The  Jews  who  had  established  themselves  as  successful  mer- 
chants in  Europe  did  not,  as  a  rule,  emigrate,  and  those  —  the 
overwhelming  majority  —  who  had  not  even  been  touched  by 
commercial  capitalism  likewise  remained  where  they  were.  The 

27 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

majority  of  the  first  Jewish  settlers  in  the  colonies  was  made 
up  of  capitalistic  merchants  and  tradesmen,  enterprising  in- 
dividuals who  were  seeking  to  better  themselves. 

The  character  of  colonial  society  encouraged  precisely  this 
type  of  Jewish  immigration.  The  merchant  capitalist  was  a 
highly  respected  member  of  eighteenth-century  society,  and  a 
Jewish  capitalist  merchant  was  viewed  in  terms  of  his  class  and 
function  rather  than  his  religion.  For  this  reason,  merchants 
like  Aaron  Lopez,  the  Gomezes,  and  the  Frankses,  not  to 
mention  others  of  similar  enterprise  if  less  affluence,  were 
regarded  with  respect  and  admiration. 

That  Jews  did  not  come  to  settle  in  large  numbers,  although 
the  seventeenth-century  was  a  very  harsh  one  for  most  of  the 
Jews  in  Germany  and  Poland,  is  to  be  explained  by  the  fact 
that,  aside  from  trade,  only  capitalistic  enterprise,  farming,  and 
handwork  offered  opportunities  in  America.  The  major  sources 
of  peasant  emigration  in  the  eighteenth  century  were  England, 
Ireland,  France  and,  to  some  extent,  Germany.  But  in  England 
and  France  the  Jews  had  scarcely  any  contact  with  the  peasants, 
since  only  Jews  who  were  merchant  capitalists  had  been  allowed 
to  settle  in  these  countries.  The  Jews,  therefore,  could  not 
accompany  the  peasants  of  these  areas  when  the  latter  were 
set  in  motion  by  advancing  capitalism.  The  sprinkling  of  Jews 
in  the  colonies  and  in  the  early  republic  is  thus  explained  by 
the  fact  that  commercial  capitalism  determined  the  character 
and  the  extent  of  emigration  and  immigration. 

The  framework  in  which  Jewish  life  in  America  had  its 
inception  and  unfolding  was  from  the  outset  radically  different 
from  any  which  the  Jews  had  experienced  previously.  Virtually 
from  the  moment  when  the  Jews  set  foot  in  this  country,  their 
destiny  became  linked  with  that  of  capitalism.  This  was  the 
only  area  in  the  world  where  capitalism  was  the  very  source  of 
its  life  and  where  capitalism  and  its  corresponding  institutions 
28 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

could  develop  with  little  hindrance  from  an  earlier  system  of 
production  and  from  the  structures  that  had  been  involved  in  it. 
The  North  American  colonies  were  primarily  capitalistic  out- 
posts pressing  against  the  barriers  of  mountain  and  forest,  and 
although  formalized  religious  establishments,  whether  indigenous 
or  European  in  origin,  were  operative  in  most  of  the  colonies, 
they  never  became  so  firmly  rooted  in  the  American  environment 
as  similar  or  corresponding  establishments  had  been  in  Europe. 
Indeed,  the  churches  that  flourished  in  this  country  were  already 
at  least  once  removed  from  the  ecclesiastical  institutions  of  the 
medieval  world.  Anglicanism  as  established  on  these  shores  was 
perhaps  closest  to  the  medieval  norm,  but  Puritanism  already 
represented  a  considerable  deviation  from  Anglican  doctrine 
and  government.  In  New  England,  Puritanism  took  the  form 
of  the  Congregational  churches  and  ministered  as  such  to  the 
capitalist  merchant  class  and  the  free  yeomanry.  The  Middle 
Colonies  were  already  infested  with  a  variety  of  deviant  beliefs, 
and  in  some  cities,  for  example,  Philadelphia,  Deism  had  made 
considerable  progress.  Thus  even  before  the  Revolution  no 
church  establishment  existed  in  the  solid  sense  that  such  estab- 
lishments existed  in  England,  France,  or  Germany. 

Nor  did  any  other  medieval  institution  gain  a  strong  foothold 
in  this  country.  A  hereditary  aristocracy  with  legally  confirmed 
privileges  never  took  root  here.  Guilds  never  developed  as 
privileged  and  monopolistic  entities.  Although  Negro  slavery 
existed,  all  attempts  at  securing  a  permanent,  unfree,  white 
agricultural  class  were  unsuccessful.  The  European  husbandman 
in  this  country  was  virtually  from  the  start  a  free  farmer. 

The  economic  structure,  even  before  the  Revolution,  thus 
displayed  the  character  of  relatively  free  capitalism,  wherein 
commodities  were  produced  and  profit  was  sought.  It  was  an 
economic  structure  which  encouraged  fluidity  and  mobility, 
and  which  rewarded  the  enterprising  and  the  thrifty.  It  flour- 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 


ished  in  a  political  and  ideological  framework  that  was  receptive 
to  its  needs  and  responsive  to  its  drives. 

The  response  of  such  a  society  to  the  Jews  was  thoroughly  in 
keeping  with  its  character  to  the  extent  that  if  the  institutions 
of  a  medieval  orientation  had  been  strong,  there  would  have  been 
opposition  to  the  Jews.  Since,  however,  the  strength  of  such  insti- 
tutions was  relatively  slight  and  became  ever  slighter  with  the 
years,  the  Jew  came  to  be  evaluated  strictly  in  terms  of  his  func- 
tional role.  This  functional  role,  as  we  have  seen,  was  that  of  an 
enterprising  merchant  on  a  large  or  small  scale,  and  the  evalua- 
tion of  the  Jew's  role  was  generally  to  be  as  positive  as  the  role 
itself  at  the  time. 

The  thoroughly  middle-class  character  of  American  society 
is  evident  from  the  two  basic  documents  of  American  independ- 
ence: the  Declaration  of  Independence  and  the  Constitution. 
The  significance  of  these  documents  lies  in  their  appeal  to  the 
authority  of  natural  law  and  inalienable  rights,  rather  than  to 
some  scriptural  authority.  These  were  the  first  official  documents 
to  rest  the  authority  of  a  national  state  squarely  on  the  authority 
of  the  people,  and  the  first  to  grant  complete  freedom  of  worship 
and  to  reject  categorically  a  national  church  establishment.  In 
addition,  there  was  to  be  neither  monarch  nor  aristocrat.  Thus 
the  American  Constitution  achieved  what  no  state  in  Europe 
was  to  achieve,  however  powerful  the  growth  of  capitalism. 
This  achievement  guaranteed  the  American  Jew,  on  a  national 
level,  the  utmost  that  unfettered  capitalism  can  grant;  political, 
juridical,  and  economic  freedom. 

In  Europe,  the  Jews  could  only  approximate  such  sweeping 
freedom;  for,  in  Europe,  capitalism  could  develop  only  out  of  a 
structure  based  on  a  very  different  system  of  production,  and 
out  of  an  array  of  institutions  that  were  powerful,  formidable, 
and  privileged.  Even  violent  revolutions  could  not  root  out  the 
entrenched  institutions  of  the  Old  Regime.  Monarchy,  aristoc- 

3° 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

racy,  and  the  Church  lingered  on,  preserving  at  least  some 
vestiges  of  their  former  power  and  grandeur.  Precapitalistic 
economic  forms  likewise  persisted,  as  did  the  ideologies  char- 
acteristic of  those  classes  which  drew  sustenance  from  the  forms 
of  a  precapitalistic  economy. 

In  England,  for  example,  the  monarchy,  the  Established 
Church,  and  a  hereditary  aristocracy  have  been  maintained. 
In  France,  the  power  of  the  Church  and  the  monarchical 
principle  reasserted  themselves  many  times  during  the  nineteenth 
and  twentieth  centuries.  In  Germany,  the  Kaisers  ruled  till 
1918,  and  the  Junkers  maintained  their  importance  through  the 
entire  period  of  the  Weimar  Republic.  Italy  held  on  to  the 
monarchy  and  failed  to  free  itself  from  the  power  of  the  papacy, 
while  in  Austria  the  Church  never  entirely  lost  its  formidable 
position.  Whenever  the  development  of  capitalism  called  for 
the  dissolution  of  anomalous  classes,  its  spokesmen  were  either 
incapable  of  marshalling  the  social  strength  needed  for  the 
venture,  or  they  recoiled  at  the  prospect  that  they  might  unleash 
the  very  forces  which  would  endanger  them. 

The  Jews  in  Europe  found,  therefore,  that  their  fate  was 
bound  up  with  a  capitalism  incapable  of  freeing  itself  completely 
from  the  medieval  orientation  of  precapitalism.  Little  wonder, 
then,  that  the  Jews  in  Europe  were  placed  in  an  ambiguous 
relationship  to  the  entire  process.  They  gradually  achieved 
emancipation,  but  this  emancipation  was  never  certain.  They 
were  accorded  political  and  juridical  rights,  but  they  were 
unable  to  make  unrestricted  use  of  them.  In  most  European 
countries  the  army,  the  aristocracy,  and  the  bureaucracy  suc- 
ceeded fairly  well  in  blocking  the  Jews. 

A  constant  obstacle  to  a  genuine  and  thoroughgoing  Jewish 
emancipation  was  the  persistence  in  Europe  of  medieval  in- 
stitutions which  had  never  freely  or  happily  accepted  capitalism. 
These  institutions  had  not  only  fought  the  new  system  of  produc- 

31 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

tion  and  its  political  demands,  but  even  when  they  did  accord 
reluctant  acceptance  to  the  new  dispensation,  they  continued 
to  resist  Jewish  emancipation.  The  reactionary  elements  in  the 
French  National  Assembly  insisted  that  Jews  were  a  nation  and 
not  a  religion.  The  Jewish  problem  was  a  very  real  and  persistent 
one  during  the  French  Revolution,  and  although  the  Jews  were 
granted  equality,  the  opposition  never  ceased  clamoring  that 
the  Jews  were  a  nation  and  were  not,  therefore,  entitled  to 
citizenship.  During  the  Napoleonic  interlude,  Napoleon  himself 
threw  his  weight  behind  the  allegation  that  the  Jews  were  a 
separate  and  a  harmful  nation  which  had  to  be  purged  of  its 
backward  and  anti-social  mores.  The  discriminatory  laws  issued 
by  Napoleon,  first,  in  1806,  in  the  form  of  a  moratorium  on 
debts  owed  to  Jews,  and  then  in  the  form  of  restrictions  on  their 
economic  activities,  testify  to  the  tenuous  character  of  Jewish 
emancipation  in  a  capitalistic  society  which  was  still  hemmed 
in  by  the  persistence  of  precapitalistic  production  modes  and 
of  precapitalistic  institutions.  Thus,  even  after  a  revolution  as 
thoroughgoing  as  the  French,  the  Jews  were  not  completely 
freed  from  their  entanglements  in  the  old  order. 

The  situation  was  basically  the  same  in  Germany.  A  Jewish 
question  existed  as  an  inseparable  component  of  the  larger 
question  of  the  relationship  between  an  emergent  capitalism 
and  precapitalist  forms  and  institutions.  From  1815  through 
the  revolution  of  1848,  the  debate  over  what  the  Jews  were 
raged  throughout  Germany,  In  this  spectrum,  the  evaluation 
of  the  Jews  was  either  good  or  bad,  depending  on  whether 
the  writer  was  oriented  towards  the  old  regime  or  advocated 
a  capitalist  and  nationalist  state-  Since  the  German  revolu- 
tion of  1848  was  even  less  thorough  than  the  French,  the 
Jewish  question  in  Germany  continued  to  be  as  viable  as  the 
strength  of  the  monarchy,  the  aristocracy,  and  the  Church 
could  render  it. 

32 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

While  Europe  entered  upon  its  capitalist  phase  encumbered 
by  a  Jewish  problem  that  had  been  spawned  by  the  medieval 
world  and  its  collapse,  the  United  States,  never  having  known 
any  system  of  production  other  than  capitalistic  or  geared  to 
capitalism,  was  not  faced  with  a  Jewish  problem.  America 
had  no  enclaves  of  Jews  who,  as  in  Alsace-Lorraine,  engaged 
in  petty  moneylending  and  peddling  to  debt-ridden  peasants 
and  artisans.  The  situation  in  America  was  unlike  that  in 
France,  where  a  chasm  separated  one  group  of  Jews  from 
another,  and  where  the  capitalist  Jews  of  Bordeaux  felt  their 
position  threatened  by  the  Jewish  moneylenders,  peddlers,  and 
beggars  of  Alsace-Lorraine.  In  the  young  American  Republic 
some  Jews  were  poorer  than  others,  but  no  Jew  was  committed 
to  the  economy  of  a  previous  epoch.  Each  Jew  was  a  free  man, 
seeking  in  his  own  way  a  place  for  himself  in  the  young,  dynamic, 
and  vigorous  American  society. 

The  framers  of  the  American  Constitution  did  not  have  to 
engage  in  debate  with  powerful  opponents  to  prove  that  Jews 
were  not  a  nation,  but  a  religion.  The  issue  did  not  even  arise, 
since  strictly  capitalistic  society  does  not  recognize  religibus 
differences  as  relevant,  as  long  as  religion  does  not  endanger 
the  constitutional  basis  of  the  state,  the  Constitution.  Pure 
capitalism  is  intolerant  of  institutional  and  inherited  privileges, 
and  seeks  to  make  everyone  equal  before  the  law.  Only  when 
pure  capitalism  faces  some  anomalous  vestige  which  still  exerts 
power  is  it  forced  to  compromise.  It  rarely  introduces  such 
anomalies  on  its  own.  Thus,  slavery  in  the  new  republic  had 
to  be  tolerated  temporarily  because  of  the  very  real  power  of 
the  slaveowners,  and  because  slavery  was  an  existent  reality  in 
1789.  However,  the  capitalist  intent  is  clear  in  that  the  slave 
trade  was  to  come  to  an  end. 

The  United  States  from  its  very  birth  thus  had  no  backlog 
of  accumulated  hates  peddled  by  the  institutions  and  interests 

33 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 


of  a  decaying  order:  no  desperate  artisans  whose  guild  privileges 
had  been  destroyed,  no  disgruntled  peasantry  being  driven  off 
the  land,  no  surplus  of  desperate  human  beings  vainly  seeking 
new  moorings,  no  proletariat  being  ground  down  in  the  mines 
and  factories.  It  is  little  wonder,  then,  that  though  instances  of 
anti-Jewish  feeling  were  not  altogether  lacking,  the  overriding 
tone  of  society  was  favorable  towards  the  Jews. 


II 

The  second  phase  of  Jewish  history  in  the  United  States  was 
likewise  one  which  proved  to  be  very  positive  in  its  outcome 
for  the  Jews.  This  phase,  too,  was  directly  related  to  the  devel- 
opment of  capitalism  in  Europe  and  to  rapid  capitalist  expansion 
here. 

In  Europe,  capitalism  made  vast  strides  between  1815  and 
1848,  but  its  effects  differed  from  area  to  area.  In  England,  the 
industrial  revolution  was  consolidated,  and  the  industrial  cap- 
italists were  given  political  recognition  and  power.  In  France,  a 
similar,  if  not  so  intensive,  capitalistic  growth  took  place,  but 
the  reorientation  of  power  involved  revolutionary  upheavals. 
Nonetheless,  France  emerged  in  the  second  half  of  the  nineteenth 
century  as  a  great  capitalistic  power  in  which  effective  political 
control  was  in  the  hands  of  capitalistic  parties.  The  consolidation 
of  capitalism  in  both  England  and  France  improved  the  position 
of  the  Jew,  even  though  it  could  not  completely  eliminate  the 
continuation  of  hostility  on  the  part  of  persisting  institutions 
of  the  old  order  and  of  those  classes  negatively  affected  by  the 
character  of  capitalistic  development. 

In  Central  Europe  the  consequences  of  economic  change 
were  radically  different.  The  growth  of  capitalistic  commerce 
and  industry  took  place  in  societies  structured  for  quite  different 

34 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

purposes  and  goals.  The  heavy  hand  of  decadent  monarchical, 
aristocratic,  and  ecclesiastical  power  stood  in  the  way  of  initiative 
and  enterprise.  The  political  disunity  of  Germany  hampered 
the  drive  for  national  unity.  Yet  capitalism  developed  and  in  its 
penetration  of  Germany  steadily  broke  up  the  economic  founda- 
tions of  the  old  order.  Peasants  found  it  more  difficult  to  eke 
out  a  living  from  the  soil;  factories  reached  out  for  hands; 
artisans  helplessly  fought  the  competition  of  machine.  The 
texture  of  the  old  economy  was  dissolved,  and  those  whose 
livelihood  disappeared  with  the  old  economy  sought  new  ar- 
rangements for  themselves. 

Large  numbers  were  swept  up  by  the  growing  demands  of 
the  new  capitalism  in  Germany  itself:  some  became  workers  or 
entered  occupations  created  by  the  vast  process  of  urbanization; 
some  became  capitalists;  others  emigrated.  Especially  after  the 
1830*3  did  the  surplus  humanity  of  the  German  states  seek  a 
home  in  the  United  States. 

Among  the  disrupted  were  the  Jews,  who  had  had  a  significant 
role  in  the  economy  of  stagnation  and  decay.  Indeed,  they 
had  never  been  completely  expelled  from  Germany  in  the 
fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries  precisely  because  of  the  function 
assigned  to  them  in  the  processes  of  breakdown  and  decay. 

Jews  had  been  permitted  to  remain  in  various  towns  and 
villages  of  Germany  as  petty  moneylenders,  pawnbrokers,  and 
peddlers.  By  lending  money  on  pawn  at  high  interest  rates  over 
long  periods  of  time,  the  moneylenders  and  pawnbrokers  helped 
the  peasants  and  the  artisans  to  stave  off  economic  disaster. 
The  peddlers  and  petty  tradesmen  made  cheap  and  used 
commodities  available  to  the  lower  classes  of  town  and  country. 
These  services  were  rendered  by  the  Jews  in  an  atmosphere 
laden  with  hate,  distrust,  bitterness,  and  resignation.  The 
peasants  and  the  artisans  were  resigned  to  the  necessity  of 
the  Jews,  while  the  Jews  were  resigned  to  contempt,  hatred, 

35 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

and  humiliation.  Paradoxically,  so  long  as  stagnation  and  decay 
remained  impervious  to  dynamic  change,  the  Jew  was  secure 
in  his  role,  certain  of  his  future,  and  geared  to  expectancies  that 
were  as  dependable  as  they  were  humiliating. 

The  moment,  however,  that  advancing  capitalism  disrupted 
the  economic  foundations  of  stagnation  and  decay,  the  Jews 
became  as  insecure  as  the  artisans  and  the  peasants.  They,  too, 
became  divorced  from  the  even  and  familiar  tenor  of  their 
lives  —  habitually  degrading  and  humiliating  though  their  lives 
had  been  —  and  found  themselves  thrust  into  a  rapidly  changing 
world.  Many  of  them  saw  opportunities  in  the  growing  urban 
centers  of  Germany;  some  became  capitalists;  the  rest  came  to 
this  country  with  the  peasants  and  the  artisans  who  likewise 
sought  these  shores. 

The  country  to  which  they  came,  Jew  and  non-Jew  alike, 
was  undergoing  a  twofold  expansion,  On  the  one  hand,  the 
factory  system  was  making  rapid  progress,  particularly  in  New 
England;  commerce  was  growing;  railroads  were  being  built; 
the  basis  for  the  prodigious  industrial  growth  of  the  post-Civil 
War  period  was  being  laid.  On  the  other  hand,  the  West  was 
being  opened  up  to  settled  farming.  The  vast,  untilled,  but 
fertile  lands  beckoned  to  those  who  had  tilled  the  soil  in  their 
native  lands.  The  immigrants  from  Germany,  torn  from  the 
soil,  eagerly  returned  to  the  soil. 

But  there  was  a  vast  difference.  The  precapitalist  peasant  of 
Germany  was  now  an  independent  capitalist  farmer,  producing 
agricultural  surpluses  for  an  expanding  country  with  a  growing 
population.  He  was  tilling  the  soil  in  an  economy  of  vigor  which 
rewarded  toil  and  enterprise,  and  which  gave  him  a  voice  in 
the  legislative  bodies  of  the  land.  He  was  no  longer  the  helpless 
victim  of  stagnation,  decay,  and  privilege.  He  was  a  free,  proud* 
and  independent  farmer.  The  capitalism  that  had  ruined  the 
precapitalist  society  of  his  native  land  and  had  forced  him  to 

36 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

seek  another  land  proved  to  be  in  America  an  economic  system 
giving  him  land,  opportunity,  and  dignity. 

The  Jew  who  immigrated  was  likewise  transformed-  Those 
skills  in  moneylending,  trade,  and  peddling  which  he  had 
developed  in  his  native  town  and  village,  and  which  had  there 
been  associated  with  hatred,  bitterness,  and  humiliation,  those 
skills  were  now  the  very  ones  which  capitalism  cherished, 
encouraged,  and  rewarded.  They  were  transformed  into  enter- 
prise, imagination,  and  innovation.  Applied  to  the  needs  of 
the  free  farmers  in  the  Middle  West,  they  hastened  the  distribu- 
tion of  commodities,  encouraged  the  extension  of  credit,  aided 
the  establishment  of  wholesale  and  retail  outlets  in  the  towns 
and  cities,  and  led  to  the  building  of  reputations  for  reliability 
and  integrity. 

The  situation  of  the  Jew  in  this  country  remained  positive 
because  his  role  and  function  continued  to  be  positive.  He 
contributed  in  America  to  an  expanding  economy.  His  rela- 
tionship to  that  economy  was  one  of  close  involvement  in  its 
most  dynamic  aspects.  Anti-Semitism  was  thus  unable  to  gain 
any  secure  foothold.  Nevertheless,  here  and  there  disturbing 
symptoms  manifested  themselves  at  moments  of  crisis  and 
uncertainty. 

A  significant  example  was  General  Ulysses  S.  Grant's  Order 
Number  u  during  the  Civil  War.  This  order  excluded  the 
Jews  as  a  class  from  the  Department  of  the  Tennessee,  which 
included  parts  of  Mississippi,  Tennessee,  and  Kentucky,  because 
of  the  prevalence  of  smuggling  and  illicit  trade.  That  such 
smuggling  and  illicit  trading  went  on  can  scarcely  be  doubted, 
but  that  the  Jews  were  solely,  or  even  largely,  responsible  for 
the  situation  was,  of  course,  untrue.  Smuggling  and  illicit  trade 
have  accompanied  every  war  since  the  sixteenth  century.  The 
War  of  the  Spanish  Succession,  the  Napoleonic  wars,  the 
American  Revolution,  the  War  of  1812,  the  Civil  War  —  all 

37 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 


furnished  opportunities  for  extralegal  economic  activities.  Such 
activities,  to  be  sure,  were  hardly  calculated  to  gain  the  favor 
of  belligerents  devoted  to  the  enemy's  destruction.  What  Grant 
did,  however,  was  to  identify  a  common  practice  with  a  partic- 
ular group,  and  his  prestige  gave  the  discriminatory  order  a 
national  audience.  In  effect,  rather  than  exposing  it  as  a  regret- 
table concomitant  of  warfare,  Grant  attributed  an  evil  within 
the  system  to  a  distinctive  group,  the  Jews.  He  appeared  blind 
to  the  fact  that  certain  individuals,  irrespective  of  religious  or 
ethnic  affiliations,  never  fail  to  grasp  the  opportunities  for  large 
profit  furnished  by  warfare,  however  illicit  these  may  be. 

Order  Number  1 1  was  quickly  rescinded.  Appropriate  apol- 
ogies were  made,  and  Jews  continued  to  fare  well.  Grant's 
Order  remains  significant,  nevertheless,  because  it  represents 
the  first  utilization  on  a  national  scale  of  what  was  to  become  a 
basic  anti-Semitic  device:  the  attribution  to  the  Jews  of  that 
which  is  negative  in  capitalism,  so  that  negative  features  of 
capitalism  are  viewed  as  Jewish  aberrations  rather  than  as 
integral,  if  disturbing,  aspects  of  an  intricate  and  complex 
system  of  production. 

Ill 

The  third  phase  in  the  development  of  American  Jewish  history 
again  reveals  the  interplay  of  European  forces  stimulating 
emigration  with  forces  in  the  United  States  encouraging  im- 
migration. The  latter  half  of  the  nineteenth  century  witnessed 
the  industrial  expansion  of  Germany  and  the  consolidation  of 
capitalism  as  the  basic  system  of  production.  England  and 
France  entered  the  phase  of  imperialism  which  had  the  effect 
of  strengthening  capitalism  in  these  areas.  The  position  of  the 
Jews  in  these  three  countries  was  relatively  good,  despite  the 
outbursts  of  anti-Semitic  feeling  that  accompanied  the  brief 

38 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

periods  of  crisis  which  interrupted  the  steady  expansion  of 
capitalism. 

The  consolidation  of  capitalism  in  Germany  virtually  brought 
to  a  halt  the  emigration  of  Germans  and  Jews.  The  prosperity 
and  the  expectation  that  Germany  would  continue  to  become 
more  wealthy  and  powerful  encouraged  Germans  and  Jews  to 
integrate  themselves  into  the  new  economy  and  the  new  society. 

In  the  East,  however,  capitalism  was  only  beginning  to 
penetrate  the  area;  it  had  by  no  means  become  the  dominant 
system  of  production.  The  effects  of  the  penetration  of  capitalism 
in  an  area  still  largely  precapitalist  in  its  economy,  an  area 
still  controlled  by  dynasties  and  ecclesiastical  hierarchies,  are 
disruptive.  The  peasantry  is  dislodged;  the  old  villages  are 
broken  up;  the  artisans  and  craftsmen  are  unable  to  compete 
against  factory-made  commodities.  The  disruption  of  the  old 
order  creates  a  surplus  population.  Some  of  the  surplus  is 
absorbed  by  the  factories  and  by  the  urban  expansion;  others 
seek  opportunities  in  those  countries  where  capitalism  has 
become  dominant. 

After  1870,  at  the  very  moment  when  the  westward  agricul- 
tural expansion  had  passed  its  apex  and  free  land  was  becoming 
scarce,  the  United  States  entered  the  phase  of  vast  industrializa- 
tion. Immigration  to  this  country,  therefore,  had  to  accom- 
modate itself  to  the  opportunities  set  by  the  economy,  and  the 
immigrants  found  that  their  choices  were  narrow  and  more 
limited.  The  Polish,  Roumanian,  and  Italian  peasant  could 
not  as  a  rule  become  a  free  farmer.  He  had  to  find  employment 
either  in  the  factories,  or  in  the  mines,  or  in  an  array  of  urban 
occupations  in  the  expanding  metropolises. 

The  Jewish  immigrants  after  1870  also  discovered  that  in- 
dustrial expansion  firmly  set  the  limits  of  choice  for  most  of 
them.  Jews,  too,  were  faced  with  the  choice  of  factory  labor 
or  of  some  occupation  thrown  open  by  metropolitan  urban 

39 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

growth.  But,  whereas  in  the  case  of  the  non-Jews  the  scales 
were  tipped  towards  factory  labor,  in  the  case  of  the  Jews  they 
were  tipped  towards  other  occupations  made  available  by 
urban  development.  The  urban  or  semiurban  background  of 
the  Jews  made  the  difference. 

The  Jews  living  in  the  Austro-Hungarian  and  Russian 
empires  were  not  peasants,  although  frequently  they  were 
closely  bound  up  with  the  peasant  economy.  Even  in  the  small 
villages  they  engaged  in  some  sort  of  trade  and  business  activity. 
In  the  larger  cities  of  the  Pale  of  Settlement,  Jews  eked  out  a 
livelihood  as  petty  traders,  peddlers,  and  artisans.  A  large 
number  were  Luftmenshen,  people  without  a  fixed  occupation. 
Many  of  them  made  a  living  from  activities  related  to  Jewish 
religious  life.  Some  were  paupers;  only  a  few  were  proletarians, 
and  these  were  limited  to  emerging  industrial  centers.  However 
different  the  occupation,  most  Jews  were  oriented  towards 
urban  activities. 

When  Jews  from  Eastern  Europe  came  to  the  United  States, 
they  had  visions  of  urban  status  and  accordingly  sought  out 
those  possibilities  on  arrival.  The  vast  expansion  of  population 
in  such  cities  as  New  York,  Philadelphia,  Chicago,  Boston,  and 
Baltimore  necessitated  an  elaborate  growth  in  occupations 
related  to  distribution  and  consumption.  Millions  had  to  be 
fed  and  clothed.  There  was  thus  a  great  need  for  large  numbers 
of  peddlers,  storekeepers,  jobbers,  and  the  like.  A  great  many 
Jews  immediately  sought  to  fill  this  need  because  they  were 
equipped  by  previous  experience  to  engage  in  just  these  types 
of  activities.  The  non-Jewish  peasant  was  not  so  equipped. 

The  opportunity,  however,  did  not  exist  for  all  the  Jewish 
immigrants  to  find  such  employment.  Most  of  them  had  to 
become  proletarians  working  for  contractors  at  home,  or  working 
for  manufacturers  in  factories.  Inasmuch  as  they  had  known 
something  like  an  independent  status  in  their  native  cities, 
40 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

towns,  and  villages,  they  resisted  permanent  proletarianization, 
and  viewed  their  proletarian  status  as  temporary.  They  were, 
therefore,  on  the  lookout  for  any  opening  that  would  permit 
them  to  make  their  way  towards  a  middle-class  status.  The 
Polish  peasant  had  never  known  any  existence  other  than  work, 
toil,  and  resignation;  he  had  neither  urban  skills  nor  middle- 
class  orientation,  and  thus  he  was  less  sensitive  to  his  lot  and 
less  alert  to  the  possibilities  of  improvement. 

No  amount  of  resistance  could  have  prevented  proletarianiza- 
tion unless  the  economy  itself  gave  succor  to  this  resistance  by 
encouraging  a  shred  of  hope.  The  character  of  the  industrial 
expansion  and  its  consequences  did  precisely  that,  for  it  opened 
up  a  vast  array  of  occupations  so  rapidly  and  so  urgently  that 
all  who  were  quick  to  respond  found  it  possible  to  achieve  some 
form  of  middle-class  status. 

Modern  industrialization  created  a  market  for  white-collar 
workers,  engineers,  doctors,  lawyers,  and  teachers.  It  constantly 
sought  more  effective  and  more  efficient  distributive  outlets 
and  thus  encouraged  the  vast  and  rapid  growth  of  wholesale 
and  retail  establishments.  The  steady  population  growth  con- 
tinuously extended  the  market  and  encouraged  the  multiplica- 
tion of  small  enterprises  for  which  only  comparatively  little 
capital  was  needed.  The  widespread  growth  of  literacy  spurred 
the  expansion  of  the  publishing  business  and  opened  up  a  large 
market  for  newspapers  and  magazines,  these  in  turn  creating  a 
need  for  a  large  class  of  writers,  journalists,  editors,  and  the  like. 
The  spread  of  free  public  education  necessitated  a  large  number 
of  teachers,  and  the  expansion  of  college  enrollments  opened  up 
opportunities  for  scholarship. 

With  their  urban  outlook  and  their  rejection  of  permanent 
proletarianization,  the  Jews  were  quick  to  take  advantage  of 
the  new  opportunities.  Every  effort  was  made  to  accumulate 
some  capital,  however  small,  with  which  to  open  a  small  retail 


ELUS  RIVKIN 

store,  or  to  buy  sufficient  stock  to  become  a  jobber,  or  to  set 
oneself  up  as  a  subcontractor  or  contractor.  Once  in  some 
position  of  independence  or  semi-independence  in  a  steadily 
growing  economy,  Jews  might  slowly  accumulate  capital,  better 
themselves,  and  in  a  decade  or  so  achieve  respectable  middle- 
class  status.  By  encouraging  their  children  to  take  full  advantage 
of  free  education  and  to  continue  through  high  school  and 
even  college,  Jewish  parents  virtually  assured  a  professional 
status  for  their  children. 

The  over-all  situation  of  the  Jews  was  positive  in  this  period 
of  tumultuous  industrial  growth;  yet  the  size  and  the  character 
of  the  new  immigration  could  not  but  bring  spasms  of  un- 
certainty and  disquietude.  By  1900  the  Jews  whose  roots  were 
in  the  German  phase  of  immigration  had  achieved  a  durable 
position  in  American  life.  Most  of  them  had  by  this  time  firmly 
established  themselves  as  very  respectable  middle-class  en- 
trepreneurs: retailers,  wholesalers,  private  bankers,  and  man- 
ufacturers. As  a  consequence,  they  enjoyed  the  prestige  that 
attended  such  entrepreneurship.  It  is  not  surprising,  therefore, 
that  they  felt  themselves  more  threatened  by  the  vast  hordes  of 
Jews  from  Eastern  Europe  than  did  the  non-Jews* 

The  East  European  Jews  represented  a  raw  mass  of  pre- 
capitalist individuals  who  had  earned  their  livelihood  by  petty 
trade,  moneylending,  tavern-keeping,  peddling,  and  similar 
occupations  linked  to  the  plight  of  the  peasant  and  the  artisan. 
Viewed  from  the  vantage  point  of  modern  capitalistic  attitudes, 
such  occupations  appeared  sordid,  exploitative,  and  degrading* 
The  mores,  manners,  and  culture  that  thrived  on  these  pre- 
capitalist foundations  were  likewise  in  sharp  contradiction  to 
the  manners,  mores,  and  culture  of  capitalism.  If  these  pre- 
capitalist Jews  came  in  very  large  numbers  and  settled  in  large, 
compact  groups,  and  especially  if  they  continued  in  their  new 
environment  the  very  same  precapitalistic  type  of  activities, 
42 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

then  surely  the  image  of  the  respectable,  enlightened,  respected 
American  Jewish  entrepreneur  would  be  endangered  by  that 
of  the  unkempt,  jargon-chattering,  shrewd,  cheating,  medieval 
"Shylock." 

This  antagonism  between  capitalist  and  precapitalist  Jews 
has  made  its  appearance  at  every  phase  in  history  when  the 
two  contradictory  forms  came  into  opposition  with  one  another. 
The  wealthy  Jewish  merchants  and  manufacturers  of  eighteenth- 
century  Berlin,  Vienna,  and  Leipzig  had  looked  with  dismay 
upon  their  fellow  Jews  steeped  in  degrading  (i.  e.,  precapitalist) 
occupations  and  stubbornly  persisting  in  their  Orthodox  and 
non-Western  ways.  The  Jewish  capitalists  of  Bordeaux  had 
sought  to  disassociate  themselves  completely  from  the  pre- 
capitalist Jews  of  Alsace-Lorraine.  In  an  effort  to  eradicate 
the  blight  that  seemed  to  endanger  their  status,  French  Jewish 
merchants,  manufacturers,  and  bankers  waged  a  steady  struggle 
against  their  precapitalist  coreligionists.  In  nineteenth-century 
Galicia,  the  Haskalah  movement  represented  similar  elements 
seeking  to  modernize  the  Jews;  i.  e.,  to  destroy  their  precapitalist 
ways.  The  first  phase  of  the  movement  for  enlightenment  in 
Eastern  Europe  attempted  to  achieve  the  same  objectives. 

Every  effort  was  made,  therefore,  by  the  representatives  of 
an  adjusted  American  Jewry  to  control  the  tide  of  Jewish 
immigration  so  as  to  transform  the  mode  of  economic  activity 
and  the  way  of  life  that  accompanied  it.  Attempts  were  made 
to  divert  the  immigrants  to  the  interior,  to  turn  them  to  respect- 
able occupations  such  as  agriculture.  The  torrent  of  human 
beings  that  kept  flooding  in  could,  however,  be  accommodated 
only  by  the  occupations  which  this  particular  phase  of  economic 
development  made  available. 

Anti-immigrant  feeling  among  non-Jews  was  to  be  found  in 
the  upper  classes  of  New  England  who  had  made  their  fortunes 
primarily  in  the  flush  of  the  heyday  of  commercial  capitalism 

43 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

and  during  the  first  phase  of  the  development  of  manufacturing 
in  the  pre-Civil  War  period.  After  1870,  this  class  found  itself 
being  pushed  aside  by  the  industrial  expansion  which  was 
concentrated  almost  exclusively  in  the  hands  of  capitalist  new- 
comers. Since  immigration  was  vital  for  the  rapid  success  of 
these  new  enterprises,  the  staid  capitalists  of  a  previous  era 
viewed  it  as  a  threat  to  their  former  supremacy.  They  saw  in 
immigration  the  disintegration  of  their  American  society. 

The  farmers  also  had  certain  misgivings  about  the  con- 
sequences of  the  rapid  rate  of  industrialization.  By  1890  the 
possibility  for  the  territorial  expansion  of  agriculture  was  at 
an  end.  For  the  first  time,  the  farmers  were  sharply  confronted 
by  the  very  real  threat  of  insolvency  and  by  the  inability  to 
compete  successfully  against  the  continuously  growing  power 
of  finance  and  industry.  For  the  first  time,  the  seemingly  over- 
whelming power  of  money  threatened  to  deprive  them  of  their 
farms  and  livelihoods.  Opposition  to  the  new  finance  and  in- 
dustrialism reached  a  very  high  pitch  in  the  1890*8.  Immigration 
was  viewed  by  large  numbers  of  farmers  as  symbolic  of  their 
own  downfall. 

And,  finally,  the  native-born  working  class  resented  the  influx 
of  immigrants  who  jostled  them  out  of  jobs  and  who  kept  the 
wage  rates  hovering  at  the  subsistence  level.  The  East  European 
Jewish  immigrants  found  themselves,  therefore,  in  a  somewhat 
different  position  from  that  which  their  coreligionists  of  the 
1840*8  and  i86o's  had  encountered.  On  the  one  hand,  the 
future  of  these  immigrants  was  to  be  virtually  as  favorable;  on 
the  other,  their  present  was  much  more  uncertain  and  ambig* 
uous.  Their  future  was  assured  because  they  were  linked  with 
that  phase  of  capitalist  development  which  was  to  become 
dominant  in  the  twentieth  century,  the  capitalist  development 
involving  the  growth  of  large-scale  industry  and  the  new  mam- 
moth urbanization.  But  at  the  moment  of  their  arrival,  very 

44 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

large  numbers  continued  to  pursue  their  precapitalist  ways  in 
the  ghettos  of  New  York,  Philadelphia,  Baltimore,  and  Chicago. 
They  were  thus  living  witnesses  to  the  charge  that  they  earned 
their  livelihood  in  the  cracks  and  crannies  of  the  economic 
system.  As  pawnbrokers,  petty  shopkeepers,  and  peddlers,  they 
seemed  to  be  perpetuating  in  the  cities  of  this  country  the 
degraded  activities  of  their  native  lands.  The  Jews  could  thus 
be  pictured  as  clever  cheats,  swindlers,  and  hawkers. 

Those  Jews  who  entered  the  shops  and  factories  as  workers 
could  likewise  be  cast  in  a  negative  light.  The  first  wave  of 
Jewish  immigration  in  the  i88o's  supplied  the  shops  and  factories 
with  Jews  who  had  never  before  been  workers  and  who  proved 
rather  docile  and  naive  in  their  new-found  role.  Beginning, 
however,  with  the  1890*3,  large  numbers  of  Jewish  proletarians 
from  Lodz  came  over  and  entered  the  shops  and  factories. 
These  Jews  were  experienced  workers  who  had  fought  many  a 
battle  with  their  Jewish  employers  in  Lodz.  Many  had  been 
drawn  into  the  Social  Democratic  movement  even  before  em- 
igration, and  were  filled  with  radical  ideas.  In  addition,  many 
Jewish  intellectuals  had  already  filtered  into  the  labor  movement 
and  were  taking  an  active  part  in  the  organizational  and 
publicistic  aspects  of  the  working-class  movement.  This  prom- 
inence of  Jews  in  the  trade-union  movement  and  in  the  spread 
of  radical  socialist  ideology  encouraged  the  identification  of 
Jews  with  radicalism,  anarchism,  and  socialism.  However 
popular  the  pioneer  Jewish  labor  activists  were  to  become 
in  the  1930*8,  1 940*8,  and  1950*8,  they  were  viewed,  at  the  turn 
of  the  century,  with  great  animosity  and  fear  not  only  by  the 
Jewish  capitalists,  but  by  the  Jews  who  were  engaged  in  peddling, 
jobbing,  contracting,  pawnbroking,  and  shopkeeping. 

Three  negative  features  could  be  ascribed  to  the  Jews  of 
East-European  origin:  (i)  the  so-called  nonproductive,  ex- 
ploitative, and  sordid  precapitalist  occupations;  (2)  the  back- 

45 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 


ward,  unenlightened  mores  and  culture  that  such  occupations 
bred;  (3)  the  radical,  anarchistic,  and  socialistic  ideas  of  the 
Jewish  working  class  and  of  their  intellectual  spokesmen.  A 
fourth  negative  feature,  however,  was  supplied  by  the  wealthy, 
respected,  Jewish  capitalists  themselves:  the  identification  of 
Jews  with  large-scale  international  finance,  particularly  as 
symbolized  by  the  House  of  Rothschild.  It  was  thus  possible 
to  create  a  picture  of  the  Jew  with  four  threatening  qualities, 
a  picture  which  could  be  conjured  up  as  an  adequate  explana- 
tion for  virtually  every  ill  that  plagued  society.  Every  class  in 
society  could  emphasize  that  aspect  of  the  picture  which  ac- 
corded with  its  own  predicament.  The  farmer  saw  Jewish 
monetary  power  and  Jewish  Socialism;  the  lower  middle  classes 
and  the  worker  saw  the  Jewish  pawnbroker,  the  peddler,  and 
the  shopkeeper;  the  old  mercantile  capitalists  saw  the  usurping 
international  Jewish  banker;  and  the  wealthy  saw  the  Jewish 
anarchist.  Finally,  the  Jewish  link  with  Christianity  could  be 
seen  in  its  negative  aspect,  and  the  Jew  as  Christ  killer  could  be 
effectively  amalgamated  with  the  other  four  whenever  dis- 
contented groups,  such  as  farmers,  were  at  the  same  time  also 
believing  fundamentalist  Christians. 

These  five  features  were  first  used  during  the  farm  crisis  of 
the  i88o's  and  the  iSgo's.  This  was  the  first  instance  on  a  large 
scale  of  a  stubborn  problem:  the  inability  of  the  farmer  to  make 
a  profit  in  the  face  of  the  disproportion  between  farm  prices 
and  industrial  commodities.  This  basic  problem  carried  with  it 
the  concomitant  ones  of  heavy  indebtedness  and  the  threat  of 
foreclosure.  Linked  with  the  problem  of  prices  and  mortgage 
indebtedness  was  that  of  the  availability  of  money.  Attempting 
to  cope  with  their  difficulties,  the  farmers  sought  solutions  that 
were  compatible  with  the  maintenance  of  their  independent 
positions.  Among  the  most  persistent  solutions  were  those  which 
sought  monetary  inflation  and  the  crippling  of  the  money  power* 

46 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

It  was  here  that  anti-Semitism  could  effectively  be  exploited 
to  serve  diversionary  ends.  If  the  total  money  power  could  be 
labelled  Jewish,  then  individual  bankers  were  merely  the  helpless 
tools  of  the  Jewish  moneyed  interests.  The  major  problem,  then, 
for  the  farmer  would  be  to  cripple  the  Jewish  power.  Thus  his 
difficulties  were  assumed  to  stem  from  that  which  was  alien  to 
and  superimposed  upon  the  economic  system  rather  than  from 
the  dynamism  of  the  system  itself.  Alien  Jewish  gold  was  the 
threat! 

This  diversionary  approach  could  be  very  effective  because  it 
appealed  to  seemingly  irrefutable  facts.  The  House  of  Rothschild 
was  not  only  an  influential  banking  house,  but  it  was  inter- 
nationally notorious.  It  was  not  difficult  to  believe  that,  with 
their  moneybags,  the  Rothschilds  controlled  the  governments 
of  Europe.  Besides,  wherever  one  turned,  Jews  were  engaged  in 
occupations  involving  money.  The  Jewish  Shylock  could  be 
seen  in  any  large  city,  and  the  betrayal  of  Jesus  by  Judas,  for 
money,  had  led  to  the  crucifixion. 

Large  numbers  of  farmers  who  during  earlier  decades  had 
viewed  the  Jews  as  useful,  reliable,  and  honest  merchants  now 
saw  them  negatively  as  the  heartless  representatives  of  the 
money  power.  This  shift  came  about  only  because  the  plight  of 
the  farmer  had  for  the  first  time  become  real,  and  he  sought 
some  explanation  for  his  problem. 

Although  anti-Semitism  had  raised  its  head  ominously  in  the 
i88o's  and  iSgo's,  it  proved  to  be  temporary  and  was  liquidated 
fairly  rapidly  once  a  new  upward  swing  occurred  in  farm  prices. 
Even  more  important  was  the  fact  that  the  Jews  were  linked 
with  the  most  dynamic  and  the  most  dominant  aspect  of 
capitalism:  expanding  industrialism.  The  majority  of  the  Jews 
were  linked  to  this  industrialism  through  the  new  urbanization 
which  it  created  and  through  the  new  middle  class  that  it 
brought  into  being. 

4.7 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

The  steady  growth  of  urbanization  and  the  steady  increase  in 
the  demand  for  distributive  outlets  transformed  the  precapitalist 
Jewish  immigrant  into  the  small  capitalist.  Hawking,  peddling, 
jobbing,  and  shopkeeping  frequently  yielded  sufficient  savings 
for  the  small  capital  investment  needed  to  open  a  store,  establish 
a  shop,  or  embark  upon  a  profession.  Along  with  the  stabilizing 
influences  of  entrepreneurship  came  the  processes  of  American- 
ization, dissolving  the  old  customs,  mores,  culture,  and  religion 
that  had  been  brought  from  abroad.  As  larger  and  larger 
numbers  of  Jews  extricated  themselves  from  the  proletariat, 
the  radical  and  socialistic  ideas  receded.  As  the  content  of 
experience  became  similar  for  larger  and  larger  numbers,  the 
variety  of  expression  dwindled.  By  1914  the  raw  Jewish  im- 
migrants were  well  on  their  way  towards  firm  middle-class 
status.  It  has  been  well-said  that  the  East-European  Jewish 
immigrant  was  neither  the  son  nor  the  father  of  a  proletarian. 


IV 

World  War  I  and  its  aftermath  encouraged  these  tendencies 
as  the  American  economy  entered  a  new  phase,  a  phase  of 
matured,  consolidated,  contained  industrial  and  financial  expan- 
sion. Following  quickly  on  the  heels  of  the  few  years  of  post-war 
instability,  the  economy  of  the  United  States  surged  forth  to 
new  heights  of  productivity  and  prosperity.  These  new  heights, 
however,  were  not  achieved  through  the  augmentation  of  the 
working  class  by  immigration,  but  through  the  rationalization 
of  production,  the  further  division  of  labor,  the  intensification  of 
skills,  and  the  tighter  integration  of  productive  units.  The  new 
surge  not  only  needed  no  labor  from  abroad,  but  found  itself 
incapable  of  utilizing  fully  even  the  labor  already  available. 
Just  as  an  earlier  phase  of  the  economy  had  necessitated  a  free 
48 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

immigration  policy,  the  new  phase  of  the  economy  made  it 
equally  necessary  to  curb  the  influx  of  foreigners. 

The  closing  of  the  doors  to  large-scale  immigration  came  at  a 
time  when  the  economies  of  Eastern  Europe  and  the  Balkans 
were  undergoing  severe  disruption.  But,  whereas  prior  to  1914 
the  breakup  of  the  old  economies  and  the  displacement  of 
large  numbers  of  peasants  were  mitigated  by  the  opportunities 
offered  in  the  United  States,  now  the  surplus  population  had  to 
remain  in  the  very  areas  which  could  not  possibly  provide  for 
them.  A  new  problem,  as  yet  unsolved,  began  to  plague  the 
societies  of  Eastern  Europe. 

These  developments  adversely  affected  the  millions  of  Jews 
living  in  Poland  and  Russia.  A  goodly  percentage  of  Polish 
Jewry  was  poverty-stricken  and  lived  off  charity.  An  even 
larger  number  barely  eked  out  an  existence  through  petty 
trading.  A  significant  number  became  workers.  A  handful 
succeeded  as  capitalist  entrepreneurs.  All  Polish  Jews,  irrespec- 
tive of  class,  were  the  victims  of  virulent  anti-Semitism  and  of 
discriminatory  legislation.  Jews,  who  in  the  iSgo's  would  have 
come  to  the  United  States  along  with  non-Jewish  Poles,  now 
were  locked  in  a  crippled  society  from  which  there  was  no  exit. 
Their  fate  at  the  hands  of  the  Russians  and  Nazis  was  sealed  by 
their  superfluity. 

In  Russia  the  new  type  of  exploitative  economy  handled  the 
surplus  population  problem  with  brutal  directness.  As  the  old 
agricultural  structure  was  smashed,  millions  were  forced  into 
the  factories,  and  those  who  could  not  be  used  either  in  the 
new-type  agricultural  collectives  or  in  the  new  industrial  plants 
were  either  conscripted  into  the  army,  or  utilized  as  slave  labor, 
or  directly  liquidated.  The  Jews  proved  especially  vulnerable, 
because  they  entered  the  epoch  of  the  revolution  with  a  bour- 
geois taint,  with  the  label  of  exploitative  nonproductivity,  and 
with  a  presumed  predilection  for  intellectualizing.  Each  phase 

49 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

of  the  centralization  of  the  bureaucracy  brought  with  it  some 
recourse  to  these  allegations.  The  fate  of  the  Jews  in  the  Soviet 
Union  was  thus  resolved  negatively,  although  total  annihilation 
has  not  yet  taken  place. 

Although  the  post- World  War  I  economy  barred  entry  to  new 
immigrants,  it  continued  to  unfold  opportunities  for  the  Jews 
already  living  here.  Swelling  productivity  and  the  prosperity 
that  accompanied  it  spawned  myriads  of  small  and  medium- 
sized  businesses,  while  the  phenomenal  growth  of  white-collar 
occupations  absorbed  those  with  high  school  and  college  educa- 
tions. The  entertainment  media,  movies  and  radio  blossomed; 
written  communication  —  newspapers,  magazines,  books  —  ex- 
panded; the  continuous  growth  of  higher  education  increased 
the  number  of  city-  and  state-supported  colleges  and  created 
the  need  for  competent  teachers  and  scholars;  advertising 
emerged  as  a  vast  enterprise.  Stock  market  and  real-estate 
speculation  offered  the  possibility  of  quickly  earned  fortunes 
unthreatened  by  income  taxes.  Little  wonder,  then,  that  the 
post-war  decade  witnessed  the  crystallization  of  a  new  Jewish 
middle  class,  firmly  bound  up  with  expanding  capitalism  and 
sharply  distinct  from  the  precapitalist  Jewish  classes  of  the  turn 
of  the  century.  The  emergence  of  this  middle  class  was  at  the 
expense  of  the  proletarian  elements,  whose  numbers  among  the 
Jews  steadily  dwindled. 

The  Jews  were  thus  catapulted  by  favorable  conditions,  as 
well  as  by  favorable  previous  conditioning,  into  the  middle 
class.  It  was,  however,  literally  into  the  middle  class*  Only  a 
very  few  individual  Jews  fully  carved  out  entrepreneurships  in 
those  areas  which  had  become  crucial  for  the  further  devel- 
opment of  capitalism:  the  area  of  large-scale  industry*  In  oil, 
steel,  aluminum,  automobiles,  mining,  and  machine  tools,  Jews 
appeared  only  sporadically  as  individuals.  Some  Jews  were 
still  influential  in  private  banking,  but  virtually  without  excep- 

5° 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

tion  these  were  the  descendants  of  German  Jews  whose  financial 
influence  had  continued  into  the  new  epoch.  Virtually  no 
Jewish  bankers  of  any  significance  appeared  during  the  post- 
World  War  I  period.  Although  some  Jewish  banking  houses 
remained,  there  was  little  penetration  by  Jews  into  the  con- 
trolling positions  of  the  industrial  corporate  structure. 

The  years  of  prosperity  enabled  Jews  to  enter  the  middle 
class,  but  these  very  years  introduced  some  negative  features. 
Prior  to  World  War  I  the  need  for  professional  skills  seemed 
insatiable*  Jews,  taking  advantage  of  the  demand,  entered  the 
medical,  legal,  and  teaching  professions.  The  matured  economy 
of  the  igso's  slowed  down  the  tempo  of  expansion  in  these 
areas  and  established  instead  a  more  stable  demand.  With  the 
restriction  of  the  total  number  of  doctors  and  lawyers  to  be 
trained,  quota  systems  began  to  appear  in  all  the  major  univer- 
sities, limiting  to  a  more  or  less  fixed  percentage  the  number  of 
Jews  who  might  be  accepted,  particularly  in  the  medical  schools. 
Similar  quotas  were  introduced  from  time  to  time  even  in 
undergraduate  schools,  unofficially  limiting  the  percentage  of 
Jews  permitted  to  attend.  The  significance  of  these  measures  is 
that  they  were  introduced  by  presumably  the  least  intolerant 
segment  of  society,  the  community  of  learning. 

More  sinister  was  the  manifestation  of  anti-Semitism  as  an  aspect 
of  the  brief  reaction  following  World  War  I.  This  anti-Semitism 
was  the  second  outbreak  of  violent  opinion  in  the  history  of 
the  United  States.  The  first  was  during  the  farm  crisis  of  the 
iSgo's,  and  it  had  carried  anti-Semitic  propaganda  expressing 
primarily  the  farmer's  discontent  with  the  way  in  which  the 
economy  was  operating.  The  second  outbreak  was  more  elab- 
orate, because  it  was  coping  with  a  breakdown  that  was  more 
severe  and  more  pervasive.  The  anti-Semitism  not  only  involved 
the  total  economy;  it  also  made  a  crucial  issue  of  the  threat  to 
that  economy  posed  by  the  outbreaks  of  violent  working-class 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

revolutions  in  Germany  and  by  the  Bolshevik  Revolution  in 
Russia.  Jews  were  linked  not  only  with  the  international  banking 
which  had  presumably  plunged  the  United  States  into  a  dev- 
astating war  to  enrich  Jewish  pockets,  but  also  with  an  inter- 
national Bolshevism  that  threatened  to  destroy  American 
institutions  by  proletarian  revolution.  On  the  one  hand,  the 
Rothschilds  strangled  from  above,  while  Karl  Marx  and  Leon 
Trotsky  destroyed  from  below.  It  was  alleged  that  a  clever 
international  plot,  hatched  by  brainy  Jews,  rich  and  radical, 
alike,  was  plunging  the  entire  world  into  anarchy  and  agony. 
Not  only  did  Henry  Ford's  Dearborn  Independent  spew  forth  these 
lies,  but  senators  and  representatives  in  Congress,  in  the  hearings 
on  the  immigration  bills,  linked  the  Jews  to  Bolshevism. 

This  anti-Semitic  outburst  was,  however,  of  comparatively 
short  duration.  The  economic  system  in  this  country  was  much 
more  durable  than  many  of  its  own  spokesmen  seemed  to  think; 
very  shortly  the  age  of  prosperity  blossomed  and  anti-Semitism 
slipped  back  once  again  into  the  cracks  and  crevices  of  the 
social  order. 


The  Great  Depression  which  in  1929  engulfed  America's 
economy  had  devastating  consequences.  It  was  the  first  depres- 
sion in  the  history  of  the  United  States  that  was  not  quickly 
overcome  by  a  new  and  more  impressive  phase  of  prosperity. 
The  economic  system  underwent  a  collapse  from  which  it  did 
not  fully  recover  until  a  decade  had  gone  by.  Despite  interven- 
tion by  the  Federal  government  on  a  very  large  scale  in  the 
form  of  the  New  Deal,  unemployment  remained  high  and 
productivity  low.  Stagnation  seemed  to  have  set  in. 

The  Jews,  along  with  all  other  elements  of  the  population, 
were  hard  hit  during  these  years.  Because  of  the  New  Deal 

5* 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

approach  to  the  problem,  however,  Jews,  being  largely  members 
of  the  middle  class,  were  spared  some  of  the  cruelest  blows. 
Since  their  proletarian  numbers  had  dwindled,  Jews  were  not 
faced  so  directly  with  unemployment.  Franklin  D.  Roosevelt's 
inflationary  policies  alleviated  the  disaster  which  might  have 
swept  away  the  entire  middle  sector  of  society.  To  the  extent 
that  this  middle  layer  was  not  permitted  to  collapse,  the  Jews 
in  that  layer  were  able  to  hold  on  precariously  to  some  support. 

One  major  structural  change  permanently  affecting  the 
stratification  of  society  did  occur  during  these  years:  the  emer- 
gence of  the  Federal  government  as  a  significant  element  in 
the  economic  and  social  structure.  The  New  Deal  brought  into 
being  a  large  bureaucracy  to  carry  out  its  measures.  The 
bureaucracy  was  dependent  on  a  highly  trained  administrative 
personnel  and  on  a  large  white-collar  class  for  clerical  duties. 
The  bureaucracy  created  by  the  depression  became  a  source  of 
livelihood  for  large  numbers  possessing  the  requisite  skills. 
Among  them  were  a  considerable  number  of  Jews. 

The  basic  economic  and  social  trends,  as  they  affected  the  Jews, 
further  undermined  proletarianization  and  further  cemented 
the  fate  of  the  Jew  to  that  of  the  middle  class.  But  though  the 
Jew  was  of  the  middle  class,  he  was  not  just  another  element 
within  that  class.  His  middle-class  status  did  not  dissolve  his 
relations  with  millennia  of  history  that  made  for  vulnerability 
in  distressed  societies,  irrespective  of  class  position.  During  the 
depression  the  Jews  came  to  feel  this  for  the  first  time  as  some- 
thing other  than  a  metaphysical  fantasy.  They  witnessed  a 
flare-up  of  anti-Semitism  that  involved  millions  of  sympathizers. 
They  found  themselves  accused  of  being  the  architects  of 
disintegration. 

The  anti-Semitic  movement  of  the  1930*8  is  largely  linked 
with  the  name  of  Father  Charles  E.  Coughlin.  An  analysis  of 
his  anti-Semitic  message  discloses  the  basic  ingredients  of  which 

53 


JACOB  RADER  MARCUS 

Director  of  the  American  Jewish  Archives 

Since  Its  Inception 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

were  an  international  people  who  worked  unitedly  to  achieve 
their  end:  the  domination  of  mankind.  Financial  control,  on 
the  one  hand,  and  revolutionary  anarchy,  on  the  other,  were 
two  goals  which  alone  could  fulfill  their  ambitions.  Was  it 
any  wonder,  then,  that  disaster  had  overcome  the  simple, 
trusting  American  who  was  helpless  before  a  plot  so  sinister  and 
a  power  so  pervading  and  yet  unseen? 

This  type  of  propaganda  was  very  effective  because  superfi- 
cially it  seemed  to  be  true.  There  were  outstanding  Jewish 
banking  houses  throughout  the  world;  some  Jews  had  been 
active  Bolsheviks  and  radicals;  Jews  were  spread  throughout  the 
world;  Hitler's  Germany  had  taken  drastic  measures  against 
the  Jews;  some  Jews  were  brilliant,  and  some  were  prominent 
as  publicists;  others  were  in  the  entertainment  industry,  and 
it  was  generally  assumed  that  they  controlled  the  motion 
picture  industry  and  some  influential  newspapers.  As  the 
readers  of  Father  Coughlin's  Social  Justice  looked  around, 
they  saw  that  the  Jews  owned  the  most  important  department 
stores  and  that  the  corner  druggist  was  a  Jew,  as  was  the 
physician,  the  lawyer,  the  haberdasher.  Wherever  they  looked 
they  saw  the  Jew  —  and  money.  If  they  turned  to  the  govern- 
ment they  saw  that  the  New  Deal  was  really  Jewish.  Some  of 
Roosevelt's  key  advisers  were  Jews.  And  did  they  not  know  that 
Bernard  Baruch  was  the  adviser  of  Presidents?  Here  was  the 
link  to  international  Jewish  banking.  No  wonder,  they  reasoned, 
that  a  powerful  nation  like  Germany,  in  sheer  self-defense,  had 
to  break  the  Jewish  power  once  and  for  all. 

The  Coughlin  type  of  propaganda  was  very  effective.  It  was 
hard  to  refute,  precisely  because  Jews  were  to  be  found  in  every 
stratum  of  the  economy  and  in  virtually  every  country  of  the 
world.  So  long  as  their  qualitative  role  was  emphasized,  the 
smallness  of  their  number  was  unimpressive.  It  could  be  argued 
that  one  key  Jew  controlled  literally  tens  of  thousands  of  non- 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 

Jewish  subordinates!  The  depression  was  not  viewed  as  the 
outcome  of  the  breaking  down  of  the  total  complex  economy, 
but  as  the  consequence  of  external  interference  with  an  economy 
which  otherwise  would  have  been  immune  to  breakdown. 

The  virulent  anti-Semitism  of  the  depression  years  was  espe- 
cially ominous  because  it  indicated  that  the  Jews  were  more 
vulnerable  than  any  other  group  in  American  society.  In 
previous  crises,  Jews  had  shared  with  other  groups  like  the 
Roman  Catholics,  Italians,  and  Negroes,  the  blame  for  the 
stresses  and  strains  that  wracked  the  country.  During  the  Great 
Depression  the  Jews,  for  the  first  time,  found  themselves  bearing 
the  brunt  of  responsibility.  In  the  tortuous  selective  process,  the 
Jews  had  been  found  to  possess  a  scapegoat  potential  that  could 
not  be  equaled  by  any  other  minority:  i.  historically,  the  Jews 
had  always  played  this  role;  2.  they  were  linked  with  the 
crucifixion  of  Jesus;  3.  they  were  scattered  throughout  much 
of  the  world,  and  hence  seemed  eternal  aliens;  4.  they  were 
found  in  every  class,  and,  therefore,  could  be  linked  simultane- 
ously with  capitalism,  communism,  and  intellectualism;  5,  they 
had  no  powerful  nation  or  institution  to  protect  them;  6.  they 
could  serve  as  the  common  enemy  against  whom  diverse 
minorities  and  oppressed  groups  could  unite;  7.  they  had  been 
effectively  used  by  a  powerful,  modern  Western  power,  Ger- 
many, to  achieve  a  fascist  form  of  government.  An  amalgam 
concocted  out  of  such  potent  ingredients  was  sure  to  produce  a 
powerful  effect  wherever  disaster  threatened. 

Anti-Semitism,  however,  was  kept  within  bounds  during  this 
period  not  because  its  doctrines  were  considered  false  or  un- 
palatable, but  because  effective  measures  were  taken  to  prevent 
a  total  collapse  of  the  economy  and  of  society.  New  Deal 
legislation  sealed  the  major  cracks  which  were  on  the  verge  of 
releasing  an  uncontrollable  avalanche.  This  was  achieved  by 
shoring  up  the  corroded  foundations  of  the  middle  class  and  of 

56 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

the  farmer,  and  by  providing  some  measure  of  relief  for  the 
working  class  and  the  unemployed.  As  long  as  steps  could  be 
taken  which  held  out  some  realistic  basis  for  hope,  anti-Semitism 
could  spread  only  as  far  as  these  barriers  permitted.  Despair 
was  contained  by  the  preservation  of  some  firmness  of  structure. 


VI 

World  War  II  ushered  in  a  new  epoch:  an  epoch  of  permanent 
tension  generated  by  the  existence  of  two  major  constellations  of 
power  unable  or  unwilling  to  annihilate  each  other.  Each 
constellation  has  absorbed  within  its  system  a  welter  of  states 
asserting  national  sovereignty,  yet  thoroughly  dependent  on 
one  or  the  other  of  the  two  major  concentrations  of  economic 
wealth  and  power.  The  years  since  1946  have  witnessed  the 
steady  decline  of  England  and  France,  the  emergence  of  depend- 
ent national  sovereignties  in  the  former  colonial  empires  of 
Britain,  France,  and  the  Netherlands,  the  consolidation  of 
Russian  power  in  Eastern  Europe,  and  the  emergence  of  a 
powerful  Communist  China.  Virtually  every  area  of  the  world 
is  beset  by  tensions  revolving  about  the  competing  sovereign 
claims  within  the  area  (India  vs.  Pakistan,  and  the  Arab  States 
vs.  Israel),  or  stemming  from  the  larger  pattern  of  conflict 
between  the  United  States  and  Russia.  Under  the  circumstances, 
there  is  little  prospect  of  reaching  any  permanent  settlement 
which  will  completely  eliminate  the  threat  of  armed  conflict. 

The  economic  and  social  shifts  in  the  United  States  are 
directly  related  to  the  character  of  the  epoch.  Since  the  power 
constellation  represented  by  the  Soviet  Union  must  be  offset  by 
at  least  its  equivalent,  the  government  in  our  country  emerges 
as  the  largest  single  factor  affecting  the  organization,  structure, 
and  trend  of  total  society.  The  government  is  directly  involved 

57 


ELLIS  RIVKIN 


in  the  economic  and  military  support  of  those  nations  whose 
strength  is  vital  for  the  maintenance  of  its  power.  The  production 
of  armaments  of  ever-increasing  technical  complexity  and 
quality  is  necessary  for  the  maintenance  of  its  own  power  and 
the  power  of  its  allies.  Significant  sectors  of  production  are 
exclusively  engaged  in  manufacturing  weapons  of  a  highly 
intricate  character,  and  thousands  are  employed  in  research 
and  in  the  making  of  these  items. 

The  government  not  only  has  come  to  play  a  crucial  role  in 
the  productive  process,  but  its  power,  influence,  and  resources 
have  penetrated  every  corner  of  national  life.  The  universities 
as  training  schools  for  the  specialized  sciences  have  more  and 
more  been  drawn  into  government  projects.  A  large  percentage 
of  graduate  scientists,  engineers,  economists,  administrators,  and 
the  like,  immediately  find  their  way  to  employment  in  some 
government  project.  The  vast  bureaucracy  absorbs  an  ever- 
increasing  percentage  of  the  highly  specialized  and  the  highly 
trained. 

The  emergence  of  the  government  as  a  permanent  factor  in 
the  total  productive  pattern  comes  at  a  time  when  industrial 
development  is  undergoing  a  vast  revolution  in  technique  and 
rationalization,  generated  by  the  radical  growth  of  electronics, 
making  automation  not  only  possible  but  necessary*  Such  devel- 
opments have  increased  the  demand  for  physicists,  engineers, 
economists,  and  other  highly  trained  specialists. 

This  period  has  likewise  witnessed  the  rapid  growth  of  large- 
scale  corporate  enterprise  and  the  steady  reduction  in  the 
significance  of  small  economic  units  not  only  in  manufacturing, 
but  also  in  the  wholesale  and  retail  trade  and  in  farming*  The 
acceleration  of  mergers  and  the  competitive  elimination  of  even 
comparatively  large  productive  units  has  narrowed  down  the 
class  of  free  entrepreneurs  and  has  enlarged  the  salaried  executive 
and  employee  class.  The  interdependent  character  of  the 

58 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

economy  has  become  more  and  more  manifest,  as  an  ever 
larger  percentage  of  the  total  population  is  being  absorbed  by 
gigantic  enterprises  and  by  the  government. 

The  position  of  the  Jews  is  directly  related  to  these  new 
developments.  Since  most  Jews  were  already  in  the  middle 
and  the  lower  middle  classes  at  the  close  of  World  War  II, 
they  responded  to  the  changes  in  the  economy  as  befitted  their 
class  status  and  orientation.  The  basic  trend  was  towards 
incorporation  into  the  rapidly  growing  salaried  sectors  of  the 
economy  and  of  the  government,  as  the  demand  for  engineers, 
scientists,  accountants,  economists,  and  administrators  increased 
in  the  post-war  decade.  The  economic  growth  was  so  great  and 
for  the  most  part  so  steady  that  former  restrictions  on  Jewish 
employment  were  steadily  relaxed  by  private  industry,  while 
the  continued  growth  of  government  bureaucracy  opened  op- 
portunities for  nondiscriminatory  employment.  The  growth  in 
retail  trade,  characterized  as  it  was  by  continued  enlargement 
of  the  entrepreneurial  unit,  increased  the  need  for  administrative 
and  technical  personnel.  The  expansion  of  the  advertising  media 
and  the  emergence  of  television  alongside  the  earlier  means  of 
mass  communication  likewise  opened  opportunities  for  employ- 
ment. The  increased  demand  for  medical  care  led  to  the  ac- 
celeration of  medical  training  programs  and  the  relaxation  of 
quotas  as  far  as  Jewish  students  were  concerned. 

Jews  continued  as  private  entrepreneurs,  some  in  sectors 
linked  to  vast  industrial  enterprises,  others  in  the  manufacture 
of  clothing,  and  some  in  the  wholesale  and  retail  trade.  The 
steady  rise  of  the  stock  market  and  the  favorable  dividend 
picture  made  large  incomes  possible  for  those  who  had  significant 
sums  for  investment.  But  this  type  of  income  had  no  relationship 
to  an  active  entrepreneurial  role.  The  investment  banking 
houses  run  by  Jews,  such  as  the  Lehman  Brothers,  continued  to 
be  active,  but  no  new  firms  made  their  appearance. 

59 


ELLIS  K.IVKIN 

The  general  prosperity  of  these  years  offered  little  fertile  soil  to 
anti-Semitic  agitators.  To  the  extent  that  some  dissatisfaction 
was  inevitable  as  long  as  all  economic  and  social  problems  were 
not  solved,  some  anti-Semitism  was  in  evidence.  No  real  threat, 
however,  could  emerge  in  the  context  of  full  employment  and 
social  stability. 

VII 

As  of  the  moment,  the  experience  of  the  Jews  in  the  United 
States  continues.  Their  relationship  to  capitalism  in  this  country 
thus  far  has  been  preponderantly  positive.  The  strength  and 
power  of  the  economic  system  in  the  United  States  have  been 
so  great  that  it  has  successfully  weathered  both  the  Great 
Depression  and  a  global  war.  This  strength  and  power  have 
enabled  the  Jews  to  find  security,  opportunity,  and  hope. 

Although  the  over-all  experience  has  been  highly  positive, 
the  negative  aspects  cannot  be  overlooked.  At  every  moment  of 
economic  or  social  crisis,  especially  since  the  1890'$,  anti- 
Semitism  has  manifested  itself.  This  anti-Semitism  more  and 
more  linked  the  Jews  with  the  sources  of  disintegration  and 
decay  and  attempted  to  identify  the  Jews  with  the  twin  threat 
of  international  capitalism  and  international  communism. 
Should  any  major  crisis  emerge  in  the  future,  it  is  to  be  expected 
that  anti-Semitism  will  once  more  be  aroused  from  its  mo- 
mentary dormancy. 

Thus  far  the  experience  of  the  Jews  with  capitalism  in  the 
United  States  has  been  similar  to  previous  patterns.  The  position 
of  the  Jews  in  every  society  of  the  past  has  been  as  secure  as 
the  society  itself.  For  every  stress  the  Jews  have  been  held 
essentially  responsible;  for  every  collapse  they  have  been 
blamed.  Thus  far  every  major  stress  in  American  society  has 
yielded  anti-Semitism. 

60 


A  DECISIVE  PATTERN  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

As  we  move  into  the  future,  what  can  we  expect?  The  so- 
ciological structure  of  the  Jewish  population  in  1 958  seems  to 
indicate  that  the  fate  of  the  Jew  in  this  country  is  dependent 
upon  the  fate  of  capitalism.  If  this  economic  system  is  capable 
of  continuous  regeneration,  and  if  it  successfully  survives  the 
threats  of  war  without  a  drastic  reduction  in  its  standard  of 
living;  or  if,  America  having  become  involved  in  war,  its 
economic  system  emerges  victorious  without  society's  reduction 
to  a  shambles  during  the  interim;  then  we  may  expect  that 
the  position  of  the  Jews  will  tend  to  remain  favorable.  But 
if  some  collapse  should  take  place  in  the  present  structure 
of  the  economy,  either  as  the  consequence  of  a  depression  or  as 
the  result  of  a  drastic  reduction  in  the  standard  of  living, 
necessitated  by  meeting  the  threats  of  war  or  involvement  in 
war;  and  if  in  response  to  such  emergencies  the  prevailing 
institutions  in  this  country  are  transformed;  then  the  outlook 
for  the  Jews  will  be  poor.  Movements  will  emerge  which  will 
seek  to  allay  despair  and  to  siphon  off  discontent  by  diverting 
the  minds  of  the  helpless  and  hopeless  from  the  sources  of  their 
difficulties  towards  fellow  sufferers  and  fellow  victims.  Then, 
once  again,  the  accumulated  accusations  of  the  ages  will  be 
amalgamated  with  the  ills  of  the  hour,  and  the  seeming  truth 
will  be  so  obvious  that  refutation  will  be  vain.  Jews  will  be 
condemned  as  the  representatives  of  international,  alien  cap- 
italism in  league  with  radical,  revolutionary,  anti-capitalist  Com- 
munism. It  will  be  asserted  that  this  invincible,  if  unnatural, 
alliance  has  destroyed  all  that  is  good  and  worthy. 

The  fate  of  the  Jew  is  thus  once  again  linked  with  the  fate 
of  society.  The  future  alone  will  indicate  what  that  fate  will  be. 


61 


The  Sale  of  a  Negro  Slave 
in  Brooklyn  in  1683 


ABRAHAM  G.  DUKER 


XHE  DOCUMENT  published  here  is  a  bill  of  sale  relat- 
ing to  the  purchase  of  a  neegerman,  a  Negro  slave,  by  one  Pieter 
Strijker  (Stryker),  of  Vlackebos,  now  the  Flatbush  section  of 
present-day  Brooklyn,  N.  Y.,  from  "the  honorable  Abraham 
Franckfoort,  a  Jew,  residing  in  New  York"  (den  eersame  Abraham 
Franckfoort  een  Joodt  woonachtig  in  N.  JorcK)*  The  transaction  had 
taken  place  in  the  Village  of  Midwout,  now  Midwood,  then  a 
part  of  Flatbush,  on  August  15,  1683.  Its  terms  called  for  the 
payment  of  half  of  the  1,025  guldens  in  1683  anc^  ^or  t^ie  com~ 
pletion  of  the  payment  in  1684  or  1685.  The  receipt  for  the 
second  half  of  the  payment  bears  the  signature,  "Aberham  [sic] 
Franckfort  [sic],"  and  the  date,  "Junij  (June)  27,  i68[?]s[?].  The 
document  is  on  deposit  in  the  office  of  the  Brooklyn  County 
Clerk. * 

Dr.  Abraham   G.   Duker  is   the    President    of  The    College   of  Jewish    Studies, 
Chicago,  111,,  and  an  editor  of  Jewish  Social  Studies. 

1  Flatbush  was  once  one  of  the  original  towns  of  Kings  County  or  the  Borough  of 
Brooklyn.    It  was  legally  established  as  Vlackebos  or  Midwout. 

The  document  appears  in  the  Flatbush  Town  Records,  book  1004,  page  122, 
old  page  150,  in  the  collection  of  the  former  Commissioner  of  Records  Office,  now 
the  Historical  Division  of  the  Kings  County  Clerk,  State  of  New  York,  located  in 
the  Hall  of  Records  in  Brooklyn.  I  hereby  acknowledge  the  help  of  Mr.  James  A. 
Kelly,  Brooklyn  Borough  historian  and  Deputy  County  Clerk,  for  his  kindness  in 
locating  the  document  for  me;  of  Mr.  James  F.  Waters,  his  assistant,  for  helpful 


ABRAHAM  G.  DUKER 

Though  Bernard  Postal  and  Lionel  Koppman,  A  Jewish 
Tourist* s  Guide  to  the  United  States  (Philadelphia,  1954),  p.  443, 
report  that  Franckfoort  and  Strijker  "had  entered  into  a  business 
arrangement/'  the  name  of  Aberham  (or  Abraham)  Franckfoort 
does  not  appear  in  any  of  the  published  standard  works  on 
American  Jewish  history 2  or  in  any  of  the  histories  of  slavery  or  of 
the  local  histories  of  New  York  or  Brooklyn. 3  Jews  were  reported 
to  have  lived  in  Long  Island  as  early  as  1682.  According  to 
Isaac  Martens,  Asser  Levy's  family  removed  "to  Long  Island 


information;  as  well  as  of  Rabbi  Arthur  J.  S.  Rosenbaum  in  having  called  to  my 
attention  the  existence  of  documents  of  Jewish  interest  in  that  collection.  I  wish 
to  thank  also  Dr.  Jacob  Meijer  for  his  help  in  comparing  the  official  translation  by 
experts  of  the  former  Commissioner  of  Records  Office  with  the  photostat  of  the 
original. 


9  Of.,  for  instance,  Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society 
Jacob  Rader  Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry  9  The  Jews  of  New  Tork,  New  England  and 
Canada.  1649-1794  (Philadelphia,  1951),  I;  David  de  Sola  Pool,  Portraits  Etched  in 
Stone:  Early  Jewish  Settlers,  1682-1831  (New  York,  1952);  David  and  Tamar  de 
Sola  Pool,  An  Old  Faith  in  the  New  World:  Portrait  of  Shearith  Israel  1654-1954  (New 
York,  1955);  Earl  A.  Grollman,  "Dictionary  of  American  Jewish  Biography  in  the 
Seventeenth  Century,"  American  Jewish  Archives,  III  (June,  1950),  p.  6. 

4  Cf.,  for  instance,  Elizabeth  Donnan,  cd.,  Documents  Illustrative  of  the  History  of  the 
Slave  Trade  in  America,  1441-1700  (Washington,  1930),  I;  Minutes  of  the  Common 
Council  of  the  City  of  New  York  1675-1776  (New  York,  1905),  VIII;  Benjamin  F. 
Thompson,  A  History  of  Long  Island,  Containing  an  Account  of  the  Discovery  and  Settle- 
ment; with  Other  Important  and  Interesting  Matters,  to  the  Present  Time  (New  York, 
1839);  B.  F.  Thompson,  A  History  of  Long  Island  from  Its  Discovery  to  the  Present  Time 
(2nd  ed.;  New  York,  1843);  Collections  of  the  New  Tork  Historical  Society  (Second 
Series,  Vol.  I  [New  York,  1841]);  Henry  R.  Stiles,  A  History  of  the  City  of  Brooklyn 
(Brooklyn,  1869),  3  vols.;  J.  Paulding,  Affairs  and  Men  of  New  Amsterdam:  The  Time 
of  Governor  Peter  Stuyvesant  (New  York,  1843);  Nathaniel  S.  Prime,  A  History  of 
Long  Island  from  Its  First  Settlement  by  Europeans  to  the  Tear  1845,  with  Special  Reference 
to  Its  Ecclesiastical  Conditions  (New  York,  1845);  David  T,  Valentine,  A  History  of 
the  City  of  New  Tork  (New  York,  1853);  Gabriel  Furman,  Antiquities  of  Long  Island 
(New  York,  1875);  B.  Fernow,  ed,,  Documents  Relating  to  the  History  of  the  Early 
Colonial  Settlements  Principally  on  Long  Island  (Old  Series,  Vol.  XIV;  New  Series, 
Vol.  Ill  [Albany,  1883]);  B.  Fernow,  The  Records  of  New  Amsterdam  from  1653  to 
1674  A.  D.  (New  York,  1857),  7  vols.;  Martha  Bockee  Flint,  Early  Long  Island,  A 
Colonial  Study  (New  York,  1896). 


THE  SALE  OF  A  NEGRO  SLAVE  IN  BROOKLYN  IN   1683 

on  his  decease  in  i68s."4  A  record  of  land  ownership  by  Jews 
in  Long  Island  goes  back  to  1 745. s  However,  the  historian  of 
Brooklyn  Jewry  traces  the  beginnings  of  their  settlement  in  that 
borough  only  as  far  back  as  the  nineteenth  century. 6 

It  is  clear  from  our  document  that  a  New  York  Jew  had 
concluded  a  business  transaction  involving  a  human  chattel 
across  the  East  River  from  Manhattan  as  early  as  1683.  At  that 
time,  although  only  twenty-nine  years  old,  the  Jewish  commu- 
nity in  New  York  was  large  enough  to  have  its  own  "separate 
meeting"  or  steady  place  of  worship. 7  It  is  also  clear  from  the 
document  that  Jews  had  at  that  time  the  right  to  buy  and  sell 
slaves.  To  judge  from  Abram  Vossen  Goodman's  failure  to 
mention  this  problem  in  his  standard  study, 8  the  right  of  Jews 
to  own  slaves  was  not  challenged  in  the  Dutch  colony  of  New 
Netherlands  (or  New  York,  as  it  was  later  called  under  English 
rule) .  It  is  not  known  whether  Franckfoort  was  a  slave  dealer  or 
whether  he  had  sold  the  Negro  from  his  own  household.  Max  J. 
Kohler  states  that  "until  about  1750  at  any  rate,  every  New 

*  Isaac  Markens,  The  Hebrews  in  America  (New  York,  1888),  p.  9.  Gf.  Postal  and 
Koppman,  loc.  cit. 

*  To  cite:  "It  is  probable  that  Jews  settled  [on  Long  Island]  from  the  time  of  their 
arrival  in  New  York;  but  the  first  definite  record  is  that  of  the  town  of  Oyster  Bay, 
January  19,  1745  ...  at  that  time  nineteen  acres  of  land  in  the  town  were  sold  by 
the  executors  of  the  Samuel  Meyers  estate  for  £65."  Henry  Isharn  Hazleton,  The 
Boroughs  of  Brooklyn  and  Queens,  Counties  of  Nassau  and  Suffolk^  Long  Island,  New  Tork, 
1600-1924  (New  York,  1925),  II,  1119-20.  Of.  Postal  and  Koppman,  op.  cit.,  p.  464. 
The  publication  of  these  colonial  documents  is  highly  desirable. 

6  Samuel  P.  Abelow,  History  of  Brooklyn  Jewry  (Brooklyn,  I937)>  P-  5- 

i  According  to  Domine  Henricus  Selyns  in  October,  1682.  Gf.  Albion  Morris 
Dyer,  "Points  in  the  First  Chapter  of  New  York  Jewish  History,"  PAJHS,  III 
(1895),  47* 

8  Cf.  Abram  Vossen  Goodman,  American  Overture:  Jewish  Rights  in  Colonial  America 
(Philadelphia,  1947).  The  problem  of  permitting  Jews  to  export  slaves  was  treated 
on  a  different  level.  Cf.  Max  J.  Kohler,  "The  Jews  and  the  Anti-Slavery  Move- 
ment," PAJHS,  V  (1897),  141-42. 

65 


ABRAHAM  G.  DUKER 

York  family  of  any  wealth  or  comfort  held  slaves,  and  in  keeping 
and  even  in  dealing  in  them  the  Jews  were  neither  better  nor 
worse  than  the  Christian  inhabitants." 9  The  second  alternative 
is,  therefore,  a  possible  one.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that,  in  a 
relatively  early  document  of  this  sort,  the  Jew  is  referred  to  as 
eersame,  "honorable."  It  may  perhaps  suggest  that  Franckfoort 
was  a  man  of  wealth  or  stature.  True,  this  adjective  was  com- 
monly used  in  the  legal  terminology  of  that  period.  Its  use  with 
reference  to  a  Jew  may  have  been  due  to  the  attitude  of  Johannis 
van  Eekeln,  the  clerk  of  Midwout,  who  was  also  a  schoolmaster 
and  chorister  in  Flatbush. x  ° 

To  judge  by  his  name,  Franckfoort  was  an  Ashkenazic  Jew, 
additional  proof  that  Ashkenazim  came  to  this  continent  in  the 
seventeenth  century.  It  is  not  known  whether  he  hailed  from 
Frankfurt-am-Main  or  from  Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, x  x  His  sig- 
nature appears  to  indicate  that  he  was  not  too  skilled  in  the 
writing  of  Latin  script,  for  he  signed  his  name  as  aberham,  with 
a  small  "a." ia  His  name  does  not  appear  on  published  tax  lists 

9  Max  J.  Kohler,  "Phases  of  Jewish  Life  in  New  York  before  1800,"  PAJHS,  II 
(1894),  84.  On  the  prevalence  of  slavery  in  seventeenth-century  New  York,  cf. 
Samuel  McKee,  Jr.,  Labor  in  Colonial  New  York,  1664-1776  (New  York,  1935), 
p.  115. 

"The  contract,  dated  October  8,  1682,  is  reprinted  in  Thompson,  A  History  of 
Long  Island  from  Its  Discovery  to  the  Present  Time  (2nd  ed.;  New  York,  1843),  pp. 
285-86;  Furman,  Antiquities  of  Long  Island,  pp.  171-73;  and  other  works.  The 
Stryker  (Strijker,  Strycker)  family  was  prominent  in  the  history  of  Flatbush.  Pietcr 
Strijker's  commission  as  captain  of  foot,  Flatbush,  Kings  County,  issued  on  Decem- 
ber 27,  1689,  is  listed  in  E.  B.  O'Callaghan,  Calendar  of  Historical  Manuscripts  in  the 
Office  of  the  Secretary  of  State  (Albany,  N.  Y.,  1866),  Part  2,  p.  190,  no.  114.  There  is 
also  another  mention  of  him  on  p.  238. 

1  x  The  Jews  were  driven  out  of  Frankfurt-an-der-Oder  in  the  first  quarter  of  the 
sixteenth  century.  By  1635  some  Polish  Jews  had  been  readmitted.  By  1668  a  Jew 
was  identified  as  a  resident  of  the  city,  and  in  167 1  a  Jewish  community  was  founded 
by  exiles  from  Vienna.  Cf.  Josef  Heller  in  Encyclopaedia  Judaica  (Berlin,  1930),  VI, 
1115- 

*a  This  may  be  inconclusive.  Varieties  in  spelling  abound  in  documents  of  this 
period. 

66 


THE  SALE  OF  A  NEGRO  SLAVE  IN  BROOKLYN  IN   1683 

of  the  period  or  on  other  early  lists  of  inhabitants  of  Manhattan. 
It  is  possible  that  this  scarcity  of  information  may  be  attributed 
to  his  early  death  or  return  to  Europe.  It  is  also  possible  that  he 
moved  to  another  community  or  colony.  Perhaps  he  disappeared 
in  the  Christian  majority  through  intermarriage  or  conversion, 
with  change  of  name.  Whatever  the  case,  the  document  supplies 
another  brick  in  the  structure  of  the  history  of  early  American 
Jewry. 

THE  TEXT 

Compareerde  voor  mij,  Johannis  van  Eekeln,  geadmittent 
clerk  van  der  dorpe  midwout  en  der  maer  genoemde  persoone, 
den  eersame  Abraham  Franckfoort  een  Joodt  woonachtig 
in  N.  Yorck  bekent  alhier  bij  deese  gecocht  te  hebben  en  pieter 
Strijker  woonachtig  in  't  Vlackebos  ter  ander  zijde  bekent 
gecocht  te  hebben  een  neegerman  voor  de  somme  van  een 
duijsent  en  vijf  en  twintigh  gulden  segge  1,025  §-•  de  eerste  paij 
sal  zijn  de  gerechte  helft  i68f  de  twede  helft  oft:  paij  168$ 
welke  neeger  de  gemelte  pieter  Strijker  bekent  ontfangen  te 
hebben.  Dit  alles  sonder  drog  ofte  list  gedaen  in  de  dorpe  Mid- 
wout deese  15  Augustus  1683. 

[Signature]         pieter  Strijcker 
In  kennisse  van  mijn  Johannis  van  Ekelen  [elk?] 

Ich  ondergeschrevene  Abraham  Franckfoort,  bekenne  voor  de 
bovenstaande  neeger  ten  voile  voldaan  te  sijn  de  eerste  ende 
laatste  penninge  en  bevrijde  hem  van  alle  aenmaaning  Adij 
[Anno  Domini]  Midwout  Junij  27,  i68[?]5[?]. 

[Signature]         aberham  Franckfort 

67 


ABRAHAM  G.  PUKER 

TRANSLATION  * 

Appeared  before  me,  Johannis  Van  Eekelen,  licensed  clerk  of 
the  village  [  =  Town  of]  Midwout  and  [before]  the  hereafter 
named  persons,  the  honorable  [  =  worthy]  Abraham  franckfoort 
[  =  Franckfoort,]  a  Jew[,]  residing  in  N,  Yorck[,]  who  acknowl- 
edges here  [  =  hereby]  that  he  sold,  and  Pieter  Strijker 
[  =  Stryker,]  residing  in  Vlackebos  on  the  other  side  acknowl- 
edges that  he  bought  a  negro  man  for  the  sum  of  one  thousand 
and  five  and  twenty  [  =  twenty-five]  guldens  [,]  that  is  [=viz.] 
1,025  glds.  The  first  payment  shall  be  the  rightful  half  in  i68f ; 
the  second  half  or  payment  in  i68$[,]  which  [  =  ,  This]  negro 
the  said  Pieter  Strijker  [  =  Stryker]  acknowledges  he  received. 
All  this  done  without  deceit  or  trick,  in  the  village  [  —  Town  of] 
Midwout,  this  is[th]  of  August,  1683, 

Peter  Strijcker  [Strycker] 
Known  to  me,  Johannis  Van  Ekelen  [,Clk,] 

I,  the  undersigned  Abraham  Franckfoort,  acknowledge  that  I 
have  been  paid  in  full  for  the  above  named  negro,  the  first  and 
last  penny  fpennie,]  and  I  release  him  from  all  claims.  In 
Midwout,  June  27,  i68[?]5[?]  A.D. 

aberham  Franckfort  [Abraham  Franckfort] 


*  Words  in  brackets  indicate  variants  from  the  original  text  in  the  official  transla- 
tion. 

68 


The  Function  of  Genealogy  in  American 
Jewish  History 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 


EDITOR'S  NOTE:  The  following  article  is  based  on  ten- 
tatively complete  genealogical  tables  compiled  by  Rabbi 
Stern  for  all  available  American  Jewish  families  settled 
in  America  prior  to  1840.  This  compendium  of  genealogy 
will  be  published  by  the  American  Jewish  Archives  under 
the  title  Americans  of  Jewish  Descent. 


Genesis  to  Chronicles  the  Bible  is  replete  with 
genealogies.1  Those  found  in  Genesis,  chapters  4,  5,  10,  and 
n,  contain  intriguing  folk-explanations  of  origins.  Of  greater 
historical  import  are  the  data  regarding  the  kings  of  Israel  and 
Judah  scattered  throughout  the  books  of  Kings  and  Chronicles, 
data  which  indicate  the  genealogies  of  the  several  dynasties  of 
Israel  and  the  Davidic  descent  of  the  Judaean  rulers.  In  most 
instances  paternity  and  maternity  are  indicated,  providing  a 
complete  family  record. 

Jeremiah's  dual  allusion  to  "a  sprout  of  David" 2  gave  rise 
to  the  concept  of  Messianic  descent  from  David  and  led  two  of 
the  New  Testament  evangelists  to  include  the  genealogies  of 

Dr.  Malcolm  H.  Stern  is  the  spiritual  leader  of  Ohef  Sholom  Temple,  Norfolk,  Va. 

1  Cf.  Emil  G.  Hirsch,  "Genealogy;  Biblical  Data,"  Jewish  Encyclopedia^  V,  596  ff., 
which  lists  twenty-eight  actual  genealogies  in  the  Bible. 

a  See  Jeremiah  23:5-6;  33:15-16. 

69 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

Matthew  i  and  Luke  3  as  evidence  of  Jesus'  messiahship.  The 
importance  of  Davidic  descent  emerged  subsequently  in  the 
Babylonian  Jewish  community  where,  from  the  second  to  the 
thirteenth  centuries,  authority  was  vested  in  a  hereditary 
exilarch  for  whom  the  claim  of  Davidic  ancestry  was  made. 3 

In  Jewish  ecclesiastical  and  ritual  history,  through  the  last  two 
millennia,  the  traditions  of  priestly  (Cohen)  descent  and  of 
Levitical  (Levi)  descent  have  been  preserved  to  some  extent.  In 
the  talmudic  period,  Aaronite  descent  was  demanded  not  only 
of  the  priest  but  also  of  his  would-be  spouse. 4  Through  the  ages, 
those  who  preserve  a  family  tradition  of  priestly  descent  have 
been  required  to  follow  special  laws,  while  both  the  Cohens  and 
the  Levis  received  special  prerogatives  in  synagogal  ritual. s 

Among  the  Jews  of  Spain,  genealogy  assumed  a  dual  role. 
Some  few  Spanish  Jews,  especially  after  they  became  New 
Christians,  acquired  titles  and  patents  of  nobility.  Although  the 
number  of  those  who  achieved  such  rank  is  now  known  to  be 
far  smaller  than  has  been  generally  believed,  certainly  those  who 
did  acquire  exalted  station  sought  to  preserve  their  family 
records.  At  the  same  time,  the  records  of  the  Inquisition  were 
careful  to  preserve  evidence  of  Jewish  ancestry,  and  there  are 
instances  of  New  Christians  who  were  still  considered  "new" 
three  and  four  generations  after  their  forebears'  conversion. 6 

The  Jewish  love  of  scholarship  and  the  high  esteem  in  which 
leading  scholars  were  held  are  attested  by  the  fact  that  descend- 
ants of  these  intellectual  "lights"  preserved  the  record  of  their 
descent  from  fifteenth-  and  sixteenth-century  European  leaders 

3  Heinrich  Graetz,  History  of  the  Jews  (Philadelphia,  1893),  II,  509. 

4  Hirsch,  loc.  cit. 

s  Moses  Buttenwieser,  "Priest,"  Jewish  Encyclopedia,  X,  192  ff. 

6  See  Isaac  Da  Costa,  Noble  Families  among  the  Scphardic  Jews  (Oxford,  1936), 
pp.  104  ff.;  Cecil  Roth,  A  History  of  the  Marranos  (Philadelphia,  1932),  p.  74;  Cecil 
Roth,  "Were  the  Sephardim  Hidalgos?"  Commentary,  XX  (1955),  pp.  125-31. 

70 


FUNCTION   OF   GENEALOGY   IN    AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

like  Meir  of  Padua  and  his  son,  Samuel  Judah  Katzenellen- 
bogen. 7 

None  of  these  factors  has  motivated  the  present  work,  for  it 
has  been  the  exceptional  Jewish  family  that  has  preserved  in 
written  form  the  records  of  its  ancestry.  A  persecuted  minority, 
like  the  Jews  of  Europe,  beset  with  the  basic  problems  of  achiev- 
ing livelihood  and  minimal  security,  had  little  concern  with 
family  history.  The  glories  of  the  general  Jewish  past  satisfied 
the  interests  of  the  majority.  Nor  was  the  constant  movement  of 
the  Jews  in  their  search  for  the  essentials  of  life  conducive  to  the 
preservation  of  lineage  records.  This  fact  is  clearly  evident  among 
the  hundreds  and  thousands  of  migrants  from  the  restrictive 
atmosphere  of  Europe  to  the  liberty-radiating  air  of  America. 
In  pre-nineteenth-century  America,  the  Ashkenazic  Jew  was 
required  to  alter  his  accustomed  patronymic  (e.  g.,  Abraham 
ben  Isaac;  i.  e.,  Abraham,  son  of  Isaac)  to  a  "family"  or  "last" 
name.  His  Sephardic  coreligionist,  longer  exposed  to  the  custom 
of  his  Christian  neighbors,  was  usually  blessed  with  three  names, 
and  so  migration  usually  required  no  alteration  in  Sephardic 
nomenclature,  although  assimilatory  tendencies  often  "reduced" 
the  mellifluous  Spanish  "Pardo"  to  the  common  English 
"Brown." 8  Compounding  this  complicating  factor  of  names  were 
the  distance  and  the  difficulty  of  communication  across  the 
Atlantic  Ocean,  which  frequently  severed  family  ties  and  made  it 
almost  impossible,  in  most  instances,  for  even  those  who  were 
interested  to  trace  their  ancestry  into  Europe. 

As  has  been  indicated,  the  pioneer  Jews  were  too  concerned 
with  acquiring  the  necessities  of  life  to  bother  with  family 
records,  and  except  for  an  occasional  synagogal  notation  or  a 

i  Malcolm  H.  Stern,  Americans  of  Jewish  Descent,  "SAMUEL  II"  genealogy. 

*  See  David  de  Sola  Pool,  Portraits  Etched  in  Stone:  Early  Jewish  Settlers,  1682-1831 
(New  York,  1952),  p.  443. 

71 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

family  Bible,  there  have  been  few  ready  sources  of  American 
Jewish  genealogy.  The  fact  that  the  source  material  for  Amer- 
ican Jewish  history  lies  in  thousands  of  bits  of  data  buried  in 
congregational  archives,  family  letters  and  manuscripts,  court 
documents,  isolated  items  in  print,  and  inaccessible  cemetery 
epitaphs,  lends  importance  to  the  compilation  of  genealogy:  a 
schematic  record  of  individuals,  their  family  connections,  and 
their  dates  and  places  of  birth,  marriage,  and  death.  Genealog- 
ical data  offer  compact  source  material  to  the  historian,  the 
biographer,  the  sociologist,  and  even  the  anthropologist. 

The  potential  uses  of  these  data  are  legion.  Here  are  a  few 
examples.  The  wanderings  of  eighteenth-century  American  Jews 
can  be  accurately  traced  and  dated  when  one  examines  the 
birthplaces  and  birth  dates  of  the  numerous  children  of,  for 
example,  Michael  Marks 9  or  Philip  Moses  Russell.  *  °  Data  long 
in  print  can  be  shown  to  be  inaccurate;  many  biographies  of 
Bernard  Baruch,  for  example,  repeat  the  statement  that  he  is 
descended  from  a  late  seventeenth-century  New  York  settler, 
Isaac  Rodriguez  Marques,  through  the  latter's  son,  Jacob 
Rodriguez  Marques,  and  supposed  grandson,  another  Isaac, 
who  changed  the  family  name  to  Marks  and  served  as  a  private 
in  the  New  York  Militia  during  the  Revolutionary  War.  As  can 
be  readily  seen  from  the  genealogy,  x *  Jacob  Rodriguez  Marques 
died  at  St.  Michaels,  Barbados,  in  1 725,  while  the  Revolutionary 
private,  Isaac  Marks,  was  born  in  New  York  in  either  1 732  or 
1741. 

It  is  often  difficult  for  the  historian  to  determine  whether  an 
individual  American  is  Jewish  or  not.  Confronted  with  such 
names  as  Hart,  Davis,  and  Soher  in  a  locale  like  Lynchburg, 

s»  See  Stern,  "MARKS  I"  genealogy. 

10  Ibid.,  "RUSSSLL"  genealogy. 

11  Ibid.,  "MARQUES  —  MARKS  IV"  genealogy, 

72 


FUNCTION   OF   GENEALOGY  IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

Virginia,  the  recorder  of  Jewish  history  would  be  inclined  to 
ignore  the  record  of  Michael  Hart,  of  Lynchburg,  and  his  wife 
Frances,  n6e  Davis,  did  the  genealogist  not  unearth  them  in 
the  vital  records  of  New  York's  Congregation  Shearith  Israel. 
In  these  records  Michael  Hart  may  be  found  as  the  son  of  a 
well-known  London  Jew,  Benjamin  Hart;  and  Frances  Davis 
Hart,  as  the  offspring  of  a  well-documented  Jewish  family  of 
Petersburg,  Virginia.  Their  son,  David,  married  a  Rosalie 
Soher,  and  the  genealogist  can  adduce  equal  evidence  to  prove 
the  Soher  family's  Jewish  connections.  *  a 

Isolated  items  of  historical  information  find  their  proper  frame 
of  reference,  as  in  the  case  of  an  obscure  reference  in  Myer 
Derkheim's  circumcision  record13  to  "Moses,  the  son  of  Uri 
Feis,  born  at  Norfolk,  Va.,  1791."  A  random  guess  that  "Uri 
Feis"  might  be  the  synagogal  name  of  Philip  Moses  Russell, 
known  to  have  been  resident  in  Norfolk  in  1791,  found  corrobo- 
ration  when  a  Russell  family  Bible  came  to  light  with  a  notation 
of  the  birth  of  Philip  Moses'  son,  Moses,  "born  in  Norfolk,  May 


Pioneer  Jews  in  communities  removed  from  the  Atlantic  sea- 
board can  be  discovered  through  genealogical  data.  Thus  Ben- 
jamin Myers  (1755-1851),  known  from  various  sources  to  have 
been  a  resident  of  New  York  and  Westchester  County,14  is 
found  to  have  resided  also  in  Nashville,  Tennessee,  for  a  stray 
reference  in  the  Shearith  Israel  vital  records  indicates  that  his 
daughter  Sarah  was  born  in  Nashville  on  December  2,  1795. 
Another  daughter,  Esther,  born  in  New  York  City  in  1805, 
married  Benjamin  Le  Jeune,  and  they  became  early  Jewish 

"  Ibid.,  "DAVIS"  and  "SOHER"  genealogies. 

*3  See  Herbert  T.  Ezekiel  and  Gaston  Lichtenstein,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of 
Richmond,  Va.,from  7769  to  1917  (Richmond,  1917)9  P-  33- 

x*  See  Stern,  "MYERS  V"  genealogy;  Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical 
Society  (PAJHS),  XXVI,  174  f.;  »&,  XXVII,  330. 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

residents  of  Kentucky,  as  the  birth  of  a  daughter,  Rosina,  in 
West  Point,  Kentucky,  in  1832,  makes  evident.15 

An  even  more  important  demonstration  of  the  usefulness  of 
American  Jewish  genealogical  data  can  be  shown  in  the  following 
two  studies  in  assimilation  of  early  American  Jewry. 

I.  ENDOGAMY:  SEPHARDIM  ABSORBED  BY  ASHKENAZIM 

American  Jewish  historiography,  as  well  as  the  compilation  of 
American  Jewish  genealogy,  awaited  the  achievement  of  a 
large,  established,  and  prospering  Jewish  community  of  several 
generations3  existence  in  America.  While  in  rare  instances  this 
requirement  had  been  met  earlier,  it  was  not  until  the  late 
nineteenth  century  that  the  rise  of  anti-Semitism,  coupled  with 
a  general  American  interest  in  history,  brought  forth  full-scale 
American  Jewish  histories.  Among  these  were  Isaac  Markens* 
The  Hebrews  in  America  (New  York,  1888)  and  Judge  Charles 
P.  Daly's  * 6  The  Settlement  of  the  Jews  in  North  America  (New  York, 
1893).  December,  1892,  saw  the  first  meeting  of  the  American 
Jewish  Historical  Society,  whose  valuable  annual  Publications 
began  to  appear  the  following  year. 

These  early  writings,  written  without  the  benefit  of  data  which 
have  since  been  unearthed,  labeled  the  period  from  1654  to  1825 
the  Sephardic  Period  in  American  Jewish  history  and  assumed 
that  the  majority  of  Jews  in  that  era  of  American  life  were  of 
Spanish-Portuguese  descent.  The  pioneer  religious  school  text- 
's Daughters  of  the  American  Revolution  Ms.  record  of  Elaine  Grauman  Myers; 
see  Stern,  "MYERS  V"  genealogy. 

16  Judge  Charles  Patrick  Daly  (1816-1899),  New  York-born  Catholic,  was  active 
in  a  number  of  cultural  enterprises  in  his  native  city.  He  became  interested  in 
Jews  and  Jewish  history,  and  was  a  staunch  defender  of  Jewish  rights.  His  The 
Settlement  of  the  Jews  in  North  America  (New  York,  1893)  was  an  expansion  of  an 
address  delivered  in  1872  at  the  fiftieth  anniversary  celebration  of  the  New  York 
Hebrew  Orphan  Asylum  (Universal  Jewish  Encyclopedia,  III,  448). 

74 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN    AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

book  in  the  field,  Lee  J.  Levinger's  A  History  of  the  Jews  in  the 
United  States  (first  edition,  Cincinnati,  1930;  since  revised),  fixed 
this  concept  in  the  minds  of  a  generation  of  modern  American 
Jews.  Later  researchers  on  the  subject  have  adduced  the 
following: 

While  it  is  true  that  six  of  the  pioneer  American  Jewish  con- 
gregations17 founded  in  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  cen- 
turies followed  the  Sephardic  rite,  Rodeph  Shalom  of  Phila- 
delphia, founded  in  1795, l8  used  the  Ashkenazic  rite.  It  is 
probable,  too,  that  the  Lancaster  community,  meeting  for  wor- 
ship in  the  late  1 740*8  at  the  home  of  Joseph  Simon,  followed  the 
Ashkenazic  rite,  although  close  connections  with  Philadelphia's 
Mikveh  Israel  may  have  influenced  it  toward  Sephardic  ritual. x  9 
Furthermore,  it  has  been  definitely  proved  that  by  the  middle  of 
the  eighteenth  century,  the  Ashkenazim  in  America  outnum- 
bered the  Sephardim. 2  ° 

As  Cecil  Roth,  the  authority  on  Sephardic  Jewry,  pointed 
out,21  the  Jews  and  Marranos  from  the  Iberian  Peninsula 
gradually,  during  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries, 

1 7  The  earliest  congregations,  their  locations,  names,  and  dates  of  founding  are: 

New  York,  Shearith  Israel,  1656. 
Newport,  R.  I.,  Jeshuat  Israel,  [1658  or]  1677. 
Savannah,  Ga.,  Mickve  Israel,  1733. 
Philadelphia,  Mikveh  Israel,  1745. 
Charleston,  S.  G.,  Beth  Elohim,  1750. 
Richmond,  Va.,  Beth  Shalome,  1789. 

18  Edwin  Wolf  2nd  and  Maxwell  Whiteman,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Philadelphia 
from  Colonial  Times  to  the  Age  of  Jackson  (Philadelphia,  1957),  pp.  225  f. 

1 9  No  records  of  this  congregation  survive.  Gf.  PAJHS,  IX,  36  ff.;  Jacob  R.  Marcus* 
Early  American  Jewry  (Philadelphia,  1951-1953),  H,  53  f. 

80  David  and  Taraar  de  Sola  Pool,  An  Old  Faith  in  the  New    World:   Portrait  of 
Shearith  Israel,  1654-1954  (New  York,  1955),  pp.  459  f-J    cf-  Marcus,   I,  xi-xii; 
Hyman  B.  Grinstein,   The  Rise  of  the  Jewish  Community  of  New  Tork,  1654-1860 
(Philadelphia,  1947),  p.  22. 

81  Roth,  Commentary,  XX,  125-31. 

75 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

established  themselves  economically  —  and,  consequently,  so- 
cially—  in  such  communities  as  Amsterdam,  London,  and 
Hamburg,  and  evolved  for  themselves  a  myth  of  superiority  to 
the  later  arriving  masses  of  Ashkenazic  Jewry.  The  myth  grew 
to  the  status  of  a  conviction,  so  that  by  the  latter  half  of  the 
eighteenth  and  the  early  nineteenth  centuries,  evidences  of  the 
social  distinction  appear  in  print.  Especially  in  England  was  the 
difference  between  Sephardi  and  Tudesco  (Spanish  for  Ashkenazi) 
enlarged  upon,  so  that  a  marriage  between  the  groups  was 
frowned  upon  as  a  mesalliance.**  In  the  ketubot  of  London's 
Sephardic  Congregation  Bevis  Marks,  the  Ashkenazic  brides 
married  between  1795  and  1797  are  largely  identified  only 
by  the  term  Tudesca.23  In  America,  the  myth  was  enlarged 
to  the  extent  that  Christian  authors  became  convinced  that 
Sephardic  Jews  were  physically  and  mentally  superior  to  the 
Ashkenazim. 24 

In  the  democracy  of  America's  pioneer  generations,  however, 
these  distinctions  seem  to  have  had  little  force  on  the  North 
American  continent,  where  the  Ashkenazim  struggled  side  by 
side  with  the  Sephardim  for  livelihoods,  and  where  both  groups 
produced  economic  and  social  leaders. 

Less  tolerant  of  the  Ashkenazim  were  the  West  Indian  con- 
gregations, like  the  one  at  Curagao,  which  in  1 728  addressed  to 
New  York's  Congregation  Shearith  Israel  a  famous  letter,  en- 
closing a  gift  for  the  New  York  congregation's  building  fund, 

aa  Cf.  the  story  of  Jacob  Israel  Bernal,  gabay  (treasurer)  of  Bevis  Marks  Synagogue 
of  London,  who  resigned  his  office  in  order  to  marry  a  Tudesca  and  was  subjected 
to  severe  conditions  before  the  elders  of  the  congregation  would  permit  his  marriage 
to  take  place  (Bevis  Marks  Records,  II,  vi);  cf.  Albert  M.  Hyamson,  The  Sephardim 
of  England:  A  History  of  the  Spanish  and  Portuguese  Jewish  Community,  1492-1951 
(London,  1951),  pp.  170  f. 

3  a  Bevis  Marks  Records,  II,  vii,  113. 

a<  E.  g.,  Burton  J.  Hendrick,  "Judah  P.  Benjamin,"  Statesmen  of  the  Lost  Cause: 
Jefferson  Davis  and  His  Cabinet  (New  York,  1939),  pp.  153  ff. 

76 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN   AMERICAN   JEWISH   HISTORY 

with  the  proviso  that  control  of  the  congregation  remain  in  the 
hands  of  the  Sephardic  minority.  2  s 

Identification  of  Sephardim  and  Ashkenazim.  The  chief 
factor  in  determining  which  individuals  are  of  Sephardic  back- 
ground and  which  of  Ashkenazic  is  the  family  name.  Throughout 
the  Middle  Ages,  most  Jews  were  identified  by  their  familiar 
Hebrew  patronymic,  e.  g.,  Mosheh  ben  Maimon  (Moses,  the  son 
of  Maimon).  Under  Arabic  domination,  some  Jews  acquired 
Moslem-type  names,  such  as  Abu  al-Walid  Merwan  (eleventh- 
century  Spanish  physician),  along  with  their  traditional  syna- 
gogal  names.  (Abu  al-Walid  Merwan,  for  example,  bore  the 
synagogal  name  Jonah  ibn  Janach.)  This  dual  naming  custom 
passed  into  Christian-dominated  Spain  where  it  became  quite 
common  for  assimilative  Jews  to  bear  a  "Christian"  name  as 
well  as  a  "Jewish"  one.  Indeed,  the  Church  often  sought  to 
prohibit  the  custom  among  Jews.36  Among  the  Spanish  aris- 
tocracy of  the  fourteenth,  fifteenth,  and  sixteenth  centuries,  it 
became  customary  to  adopt  as  part  of  a  family  name  both 
patronymic  and  matronymic,  and  this  led  to  triple  names,  a 
practice  soon  generally  followed  in  Christian,  Marrano,  and 
Jewish  communities.  This  was  especially  true  among  the  Mar- 
ranos,  many  of  whom  acquired  new  names  at  baptism,  frequently 
the  name  of  their  Christian  sponsor.27  As  the  Marranos  fled 
from  Spain  and  Portugal  to  northern  Europe  many  of  them 
returned  to  Judaism,  and  assumed  synagogal  names,  often 
entirely  different  from  their  Marrano  names,  but  still  preserving 
the  flavor  of  the  Iberian  nomenclature.  2  8 


S,  XXVII,  3f. 

a6  Abraham  A.  Neuman,  The  Jews  in  Spain:  Their  Social,  Political  and  Cultural  Life 
During  the  Middle  Ages  (Philadelphia,  1942),  II,  182,  257,  320  (note  3). 

2?  Roth,  Commentary,  XX,  125-31. 

a8  Cf.  Stern,  "DA  COSTA  III"  and  "SEIXAS  (i)"  genealogies. 

77 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

Further  confusion  for  the  genealogist  is  created  by  the  fact 
that  in  some  Sephardic  communities  the  tradition,  derived  from 
Spain,  was  preserved  by  which  a  child  chose  to  use  his  maternal 
rather  than  his  paternal  family  name.  This  custom  seems  to 
have  prevailed  more  in  the  West  Indian  Sephardic  communities 
than  among  the  British  Sephardim. 2  9 

But  even  with  all  these  variations  in  nomenclature,  the 
Sephardic  family  name  remains  fairly  identifiable,  except  in 
those  cases  where  residents  of  English-speaking  lands  chose  to 
Anglicize  their  name  (e.  g.,  Pardo  to  Brown),30  Other  peculi- 
arities of  Sephardic  genealogy  include  the  use  of  the  particle 
de  to  indicate  "son  of."  To  differentiate  individuals  of  one  family 
bearing  similar  names,  two  generations  are  often  indicated  by 
de  (e.  g.,  Daniel  de  Joshua  de  Daniel  Peixotto,  showing  that 
Daniel  is  the  son  of  Joshua  who  is  the  son  of  Daniel).  It  was  not 
uncommon  for  Sephardim  to  marry  first  cousins  or  to  name 
sons  after  fathers;  Ashkenazim  married  less  frequently  within 
their  own  families,  and  custom  forbade  naming  a  child  after  a 
living  person. 

Although  most  German  Jews  had  some  form  of  last  name,  these 
often  varied  from  individual  to  individual  within  one  family, 
and  it  was  not  until  the  Austrian  edict  of  1787  and  Napoleon's 
decree  of  1808  that  the  masses  of  the  Jews  of  Central  and  Eastern 
Europe  were  compelled  to  adopt  consistent  family  names.  Those 
Jews  who  migrated  to  English-speaking  lands  prior  to  these 
edicts  usually  adopted  an  Anglicized  version  of  the  patronymic 
(e.  g.,  Abraham  or  Abrahams,  indicating  that  the  bearer  was 
the  son  of  an  Abraham) .  Occasionally  the  surname  was  chosen 
from  the  place  of  European  origin  (e.  g.,  names  ending  in 

»» Gf.  the  Rev.  Moses  Levy  Maduro  Peixotto,  son  of  Samuel  Levy  Maduro  and 
Leah  Cohen  Peixotto  (see  Stern,  "PEIXOTTO  I  [2]"  genealogy);  cf.  also  Bevis  Marks 
Records,  I  and  II,  where  patronymics  seem  to  be  used  exclusively. 

jo  See  Pool,  Portraits  Etched  in  Stone,  pp.  443  f. 


FUNCTION   OF   GENEALOGY  IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

"-heim")  or  from  the  family  occupation  (e.  g.,  Kaufman). 
These  same  factors  affected  the  names  of  those  compelled  by 
European  residence  to  assume  last  names.  3  r 

On  the  basis  of  the  above  criteria,  we  have  elected  to  consider 
as  Sephardic  those  with  Iberian-sounding  names,  especially 
when  such  names  occur  in  the  index  to  the  ketubot  of  Bevis 
Marks  3  2  or  in  the  list  of  members  of  the  Brazilian  Jewish  com- 
munity. 33  All  other  families  have  been  assumed  to  be  Ashke- 
nazic. 

Having  established  our  criteria  for  determining  which  families 
are  Sephardic  and  which  are  Ashkenazic,  we  can  proceed  to  a 
statistical  study  of  genealogical  data,  and  from  them  measure  the 
extent  of  the  disappearance  of  the  Sephardim  through  marriage 
with  the  Ashkenazim.  For  the  purposes  of  this  study,  we  made 
a  list  of  all  marriages  available  for  the  period  prior  to  1840  in 
which  the  full  names  of  both  spouses  are  given.  In  those  instances 
in  which  no  marriage  date  was  available,  we  assumed  that  if  the 
male  was  born  prior  to  1815  and  the  female  before  1820,  their 
marriage  took  place  by  1840,  unless  otherwise  indicated  by  the 
birth  dates  of  their  children. 

We  found  942  American  marriages  in  this  period,  and  these 
subdivide  as  follows: 

Ashkenazim  to  Ashkenazim  536  marriages 

Sephardim  to  Sephardim  101  marriages 

Sephardim  to  Ashkenazim  155  marriages 

Jewish-Christian  marriages  150  marriages 

In  arriving  at  these  figures,  we  have  included  all  those  with 
Sephardic  surnames  as  Sephardic,  even  though  maternal  an- 

«*  For   details,   see  "Names,"   Jewish  Encyclopedia,    IX,    156;    Universal  Jewish 
Encyclopedia,  VIII,  95  ff. 
**  Bevis  Marks  Records,  II. 


79 


MALCOLM  H,  STERN 

cestry  may  be  Ashkenazic.  Similar  criteria  were  applied  to 
Ashkenazim. 

Of  the  1 01  marriages  of  Sephardim  to  Sephardim,  more  than 
half  (fifty-three)  took  place  in  the  West  Indies  where  the  com- 
munities have  remained  predominantly  Sephardic,  so  that  there 
was  little  absorption  of  Sephardim  by  Ashkenazim  in  the  Carib- 
bean area.  While  we  included  in  our  statistics  only  those  West 
Indian  Jewish  families  whose  members  reached  the  North 
American  continent,  the  dominance  of  the  Sephardim  in  the 
West  Indies  is  further  attested  by  the  fact  that  among  the  above- 
mentioned  Sephardic- Ashkenazic  marriages  we  find  only  twelve 
taking  place  in  the  islands,  and  six  of  these  are  within  one  family 
(Wolff). 

The  Sephardim  whose  families  settled  in  continental  North 
America  prior  to  1840  have  disappeared  almost  completely. 
Most  of  the  families  have  died  out.  The  remainder  have  been 
absorbed  either  by  marriage  with  Ashkenazim  or  by  marriage 
with  non-Jews.  Of  the  aforementioned  101  marriages  of  Sephar- 
dim to  Sephardim,  forty-eight  took  place  in  the  area  of  the 
continental  United  States,  and  of  the  latter,  fifteen  of  the 
marriages  were  between  individuals  who  had  Ashkenazic  as  well 
as  Sephardic  ancestry. 

Our  statistics  cover  forty-five  genealogies  of  Sephardic  families 
settled  in  continental  North  America  before  1840.  Six  of  these 
married  only  Sephardim  prior  to  1840;  they  are:  De  Lucena, 
(Bueno)  de  Mesquita,  Marques,  and  Rivera,  who  lived  only 
in  the  early  eighteenth  century  when  the  Sephardic  and  Ash- 
kenazic American  communities  were  approximately  equal  in 
size;  and  the  Naar  and  Palache  families,  which  came  from  the 
West  Indies  to  the  New  York  area  in  the  1830*8  and  married 
almost  exclusively  with  others  in  their  own  group,  before  1840. 

Of  the  remaining  thirty-nine  Sephardic-American  families, 
thirty-six  intermarried  with  Ashkenazim  within  one  generation 
80 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

after  their  arrival  in  America.  The  other  three  families  married 
as  follows:  Samuel  Souza,  a  Sephardi  from  Bayonne,  France, 
married,  prior  to  coming  to  America,  Minkella  Gerf,  a  Prussian- 
born  Ashkenazi;  David  Nunez  Carvalho,  married  to  a  Sephardi 
in  Charleston,  S.  C.,  had  one  son  married  to  a  Sephardi  and  one 
to  an  Ashkenazi,  while  two  children  of  the  Sephardi-Sephardi 
match  married  Ashkenazim;  and  while  all  the  children  of  the 
Reverend  Moses  Levy  Maduro  Peixotto  married  Sephardim, 
most  of  his  grandchildren  married  Ashkenazim. 

A  further  examination  of  our  forty-five  Sephardic-American 
families  will  show  that  only  nine  have  living  members  who  may 
still  be  identified  as  part  of  the  Jewish  community:  (Fonseca) 
Brandon,  Cardozo,  Delmar,  Lopez  I  (the  family  of  Diego  Jose 
Lopez,  of  Portugal),  Naar,  Nones,  Peixotto,  Seixas,  and  Solis. 
Many  individuals  among  these  families  have  intermarried  with 
non-Jews  in  recent  generations,  so  that  it  is  difficult  to  ascertain 
positive  Jewish  identification.  In  addition  to  these  nine  families, 
however,  only  the  name  of  Carvalho  survives  today,  and  the 
present  Carvalho  generation  is  completely  intermarried. 

Thus,  we  may  summarize  our  findings  by  stating  categorically 
what  most  historians  and  sociologists  in  this  field  have  surmised: 
the  pre-i84O  Sephardic  settlers  on  the  North  American  con- 
tinent have  all  but  lost  their  identity  as  Sephardic  Jews.  Their 
absorption  through  marriage  by  the  faster-growing  Ashkenazic 
community  took  place  almost  at  once,  and  the  process  was 
already  evident  prior  to  1840.  Through  marriage  with  non-Jews, 
as  will  be  shown  in  the  next  section,  they  lost  not  only  their 
Sephardic  but  also  their  Jewish  identity,  so  that  few  vestiges 
remain  of  this  once-important  group. 

A  schematic  presentation  of  the  above  data  will  be  found  in 
Appendix  I. 


81 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

II.  EXOGAMY:  JEWS  ABSORBED  BY  INTERMARRIAGE 
WITH  NON-JEWS 

We  turn  now  to  a  consideration  of  those  factors  which  led  to  the 
assimilation  of  Jews  by  non-Jews  through  marriage  in  the  period 
prior  to  1840. 

Throughout  American  Jewish  history  it  has  been  impossible 
to  ascertain  an  exact  figure  on  the  number  of  Jews  in  the 
United  States  at  any  given  time.  The  first  American  Jewish  Tear 
Book,  1899-1900,  stated: 

As  the  census  of  the  United  States  has,  in  accordance  with  the  spirit  of 
American  institutions,  taken  no  heed  of  the  religious  convictions  of 
American  citizens,  whether  native-born  or  naturalized,  all  statements 
concerning  the  number  of  Jews  living  in  this  country  are  based  upon 
estimate,  though  several  of  the  estimates  have  been  most  conscien- 
tiously made. 

The  statement  continues  with  estimates  made  by  various  indi- 
viduals and  publications,  of  which  the  first  three  fall  within  our 
period:  Mordecai  M.  Noah's  estimate  of  1818;  Isaac  Harby's 
estimate  of  1826;  and  that  of  the  1840  American  Almanac.*4  Let 
us  compare  these  figures  with  those  of  the  nearest  census  year 
for  the  whole  population: 

No.  of  Jews  U.  S.  Census  No.  of  All  Americans** 

(round  figures) 

1818  —    3,000  1820  9,638,000 

1826  —    6,000  1830  12,866,000 

1840  —  15,000  1840  17,069,000 

Thus  we  see  that  throughout  this  period  the  Jews  constituted 
only  a  fraction  of  one  per  cent  of  the  population.  Most  of  the 

"  American  Jewish  Tear  Book:  5660  (Philadelphia,  1899),  p.  283. 
*s  Information  Please  Almanac  (New  York,  1954),  p.  211. 

82 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY  IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

pioneer  Jews,  like  those  of  the  larger  group  who  were  to  arrive 
after  1848,  had  been  limited  in  Europe  to  mercantile  enter- 
prises, and  thus  the  early  settlers  and  their  immigrant  successors 
remained,  for  the  most  part,  in  the  growing  urban  areas  of  the 
Atlantic  seaboard. 

In  the  period  under  survey,  Jewish  congregations  were 
ministered  to  by  laymen.  Some  of  these  laymen  achieved  real 
status  as  "minister,"  a  title  new  to  Jewish  life  when  it  was 
instituted  on  the  American  scene.  No  ordained  rabbi  appeared  in 
the  United  States  as  a  resident  until  1840.  The  conduct  of  wor- 
ship, the  interpretation  of  Jewish  law  and  lore,  and  the  tradi- 
tional functions  of  ritual  slaughtering  and  circumcision  were 
carried  on  by  lay  leaders,  many  of  them  self-taught.36  As  a 
consequence,  the  real  power  in  the  congregation  rested  with 
the  all-powerful  parnas  ("president")  and  to  a  lesser  extent  with 
the  board  of  directors.  Jewish  law,  except  when,  in  the  direst  of 
cases,  appeal  was  made  to  European  rabbinic  authorities,  was 
interpreted,  usually  from  memory,  by  these  leaders.  Feeling  the 
weight  of  their  responsibility  to  guide  their  people,  they  invari- 
ably gave  most  stringent  answers  to  queries  and  verdicts  in 
trials.37 

As  a  consequence,  mixed  marriages  between  Jews  and 
Gentiles  were  officially  disapproved.  In  defense  of  this  position 
it  should  be  recorded  that  proper  conversion  under  Jewish  law 
required  examination  of  the  convert  by  a  court  consisting  of 
three  ordained  rabbis;  such  a  court  was  unavailable  in  America 
until  1846. 38  It  followed  that  the  Jew  who  married  out  of  the 
faith  often  found  it  simpler  to  leave  the  Jewish  community. 3  9 

3*  Grinstein,  pp.  81-99,  543  (note  14)- 

s?  Ibid.,  pp.  58-80;  cf.  also  Pool,  An  Old  Faith  in  the  New  World,  pp.  258-301. 

3«  Grinstein,  pp.  294-96;  Pool,  pp.  249-51. 

»»  Jacob  R.  Marcus,  "Light  on  Early  Connecticut  Jewry,"  American  Jewish  Archives, 

I  (No.  2),  24  ff. 

83 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

Often  Jews  in  the  rural  areas,  desirous  of  retaining  their  Jewish 
identity,  avoided  the  requirements  of  Jewish  law  by  living  in  a 
common-law  relationship  with  their  non-Jewish  mates.40  The 
social  and  economic  advantages  of  assimilating  to  the  majority 
group  also  led  to  defections  from  the  Jewish  ranks. 4 1 

With  these  factors  in  mind,  let  us  examine  some  details  of  the 
record  of  the  American  Jewish  community  before  1840.  Of  the 
150  mixed  marriages  mentioned  above,  twelve  give  some  evi- 
dence of  the  Christian  spouse's  conversion  to  Judaism.  In  every 
instance  except  one,  the  Jewish  spouse  belonged  to  a  family 
strongly  identified  with  a  congregation.  The  exception,  Cath- 
erine, wife  of  George  Lyon,  converted  to  Judaism  just  prior  to 
the  birth  of  her  sixth  child.42  Further  details  regarding  these 
converts  will  be  found  in  Appendix  IL 

Although  the  great  majority  of  these  mixed  marriages  led 
to  identification  with  the  Christian  community,  in  at  least  eight 
instances  some  effort  was  made  to  keep  the  family  or  a  portion 
of  it  in  the  Jewish  fold.  Again,  it  seems  that  those  living  in 
urban  communities  where  other  Jews  resided  had  better  moti- 
vation toward  this  than  did,  for  example,  Michael  Judah, 
residing  in  Norwalk,  Connecticut,  in  the  eighteenth  century. 
Judah  had  his  son,  David,  ritually  circumcised,  but  failed  to 
keep  the  son  identified  with  Judaism.43  At  the  opposite  pole 
were  several  families  that  had  their  children  baptized,  and  in  a 
few  cases  the  Jewish  father  himself  was  baptized.  These  and  other 
special  instances  are  recorded  in  Appendix  III, 

*°  E.  g.,  the  will  of  David  Isaacs  refers  to  his  children  by  Nancy  West  (Albemarle 
County,  Va.,  Will  Book  12, 1837,  p.  366).  Isaac  Levy  refers  to  his  son  and  daughter 
as  "children  of  Elizabeth  Pue"  (Philadelphia  Will  Book  i,  1777,  p.  777).  Isaac 
Rodriguez  alludes  to  Catherine  De  Spencer  as  "now  living  with  me  and  partner  in 
business"  (Philadelphia  Wills  No.  135,  Book  6,  1816,  p.  358). 

* J  Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry,  II,  503, 

4*  Shearith  Israel  Vital  Records. 

43  Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry,  I,  175  f. 

84 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

The  opprobrium  with  which  Jewish  families  met  intermar- 
riage is  readily  evident  in  the  fact  that  even  families  whose 
genealogies  are  well-documented  often  made  brusque  allusion 
to  the  non-Jewish  spouses  of  their  kinfolk  in  the  family  record. 
In  twelve  instances  we  find  only  the  statement:  "Married  a 
Christian,"  or  "Gentile/5  or  "out,"  or  "Catholic,"  or,  in  one 
case,  "an  Irish  cook."  Eleven  others  listed  such  spouses  either 
by  first  or  last  name  but  not  by  both. 

While  it  has  been  impossible  to  ascertain  the  social  status  of 
the  majority  of  the  families  with  whom  the  Jews  intermarried, 
both  extremes  appear  on  our  charts.  The  three  Franks  mar- 
riages, those  of  Phila  to  General  Oliver  DeLancey,  of  Abigail 
to  the  prominent  Andrew  Hamilton  III,  of  Philadelphia,  and 
of  Rebecca  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  (later  Sir)  Henry  Johnson, 
are  well-known  to  students  of  American  Jewish  history. 44  Among 
other  marriages  with  people  of  title  or  social  standing  we  find 
that  Catherine  Hyams  married  Anthony  Broglio,  Marquis 
Solari;  a  scion  of  the  Canadian  Harts  married  a  niece  of  Jefferson 
Davis;  Caroline  Marx,  of  Richmond,  married  Richard  Barton 
of  an  old  Virginia  plantation  family;  and  three  daughters  of 
Samuel  Wolfe  married  Civil  War  generals.  At  the  other  end  of 
the  social  scale,  we  have  at  least  two  records  of  liaisons  with 
ladies  of  some  Negro  descent. 

Summarizing  our  findings,  we  note  that  upward  of  15  per  cent 
of  the  marriages  recorded  before  1840  were  between  Jews  and 
Christians.  Of  these  mixed  marriages  less  than  8  per  cent  led  to 
the  conversion  of  the  Christian  spouse  to  Judaism,  and  only  5 
per  cent  of  those  who  did  not  convert  made  any  apparent  effort 
to  identify  themselves  with  the  Jewish  community.  This  leaves 
87  per  cent  who  seem  to  have  become  completely  assimilated 

44  The  St.  Charles,  I  (1935),  pp.  31-48,  67;  Lee  M.  Friedman,  Jewish  Pioneers  and 
Patriots  (Philadelphia,  1942),  pp.  227-44;  Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry,  I,  67  f., 
and  II,  1 12  f. 

85 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

into  the  non-Jewish  community,  although  the  bare  statistic 
takes  no  cognizance  of  the  fact  that  many  a  Christian  descendant 
of  a  Jewish  ancestor  has  found  himself  labelled  "Jew"  even 
generations  after  the  family  embraced  Christianity, 4  s 

We  have  shown  that  Judaism,  officially  and  socially,  frowned 
on  intermarriage  and  offered  no  encouragement  to  would-be 
converts,  but  that  proximity  to  Jewish  congregations  and 
strength  of  family  affiliation  did  lead  to  the  few  conversions 
which  took  place. 

Moreover,  the  above  statistics  show  that  although  inter- 
marriage was  prevalent  among  America's  early  Jewish  settlers, 
it  does  not  seem  to  have  been  so  great  as  one  might  expect  from 
the  ratio  of  the  Jewish  to  the  non-Jewish  population.  But  once 
an  intermarriage  did  take  place,  the  rate  of  the  assimilation  of 
he  Jew  into  his  non-Jewish  environment  was  high. 


Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry,  II,  97. 
86 


FUNCTION  OF  GENEALOGY  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORY 

APPENDIX  I:  ASSIMILATION  OF  THE  SEPHARDIM 
IN  NORTH  AMERICA 


Family  Name 

Date  when 
first  known  in 
North  America 

No.  of  settled  generations 
before  intermarriage  with 

Family  faith  if 
extant 

Ashkenazim 

Christians 

FONSECA  BRANDON  .... 
RODRIGUEZ  BRANDON.  . 
GARDOZO  

1828 
1824 
1752 

1814 

1778 
1759 
1788 
1768 
1789 
1834 
1655 
1733 
1683 
1815 

1784 
1760 
1686 
1703 
1781 
1829 

2 
1 
2 

2 

2 
3 
2 
1 
1 
2 
married  only 
2 
married  only 
2 

1 
2 
married  only 
3 
1 
1 

2 
3 

3 

3 
2 
3 

Sephardim 
4 
Sephardim 
1 

3 

Sephardim 
5 
2 
1 

Jewish 
died  out 
Jewish  and 
Christian 
Christian 

died  out 
died  out 
Jewish 
died  out 
died  out 
Jewish 
died  out 

(C 

cc 
<c 

c« 

Cf 

(« 

(C 

Christian 
died  out 

CARVALHO  

COHEN  [REVEREND 
TACOB  R  1  . 

DA  COSTA  

DAVEGA  

DE  LA  MOTTA  

DE  LEON  

DELMAR  

DE  LUCENA  

DE  L  YON  

BUENO  DE  MESQUITA.  . 
DE  PASS  I  

(Originally  of 
Bordeaux,  France) 

DE  PASS 
(miscellaneous)  
DE  TORRES  

GABAY  FARO  

GOMEZ  

HARBY*  

HENRIQUES  I  

(Family  of  Abram 
Henriques  Quixano, 
of  Spain) 

*  Harby  is  included  as  Sephardic  because  of  the  immediate  background  of  the 
first  American  generation  (cf.  PAJHS,  XXXII,  45  ff.). 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 


Family  Name 

Date  when 
first  known  in 
North  America 

No.  of  settled  generations 
before  intermarriage  with 

Family  faith  if 

Ashkenazim 

Christians 

HENRIQUES  II  

1833 

1800 
1819 
ca.  1742 

1729 
1746 
1695 
1767 

1831 

Mil 
1733 
1808 
1829 

1819 
1807 

1796 
1725 
1798 
1753 
1778 
1738 

1803 
1794 
1823 
1818 
1760 
1809 

2 

2 
2 

2 

1 
married  only 
married  only 

(before 
1 
2 
1 
married  only 
(before 
2 
3 

1 
2 
2 
1 
1 
1 

1 
2 
pre-American 
2 
1 
2 

? 
2 
3 

1 
Sephardim 
Sephardim 

c 

1840) 

2 
3 

Sephardim 
1840) 

2 

4  (converts) 
2 

died  out 

p 
died  out 
Jewish  and 
Christian 

died  out 
died  out 

cc 

early  American 
tranches  died  out 

Jewish 

? 
died  out 

cc 
cc 

Jewish 
Jewish  and 
Christian 
died  out 
Christian 

died  out 
u 

cc 

Jewish  and 
Christian 
Jewish 
died  out 
Jewish 
died  out 

cc 

u 

(Family  of  Moses 
Henriques,  of 
London) 

LABATT  

LEVY  (MOSES  E.)  
LOPEZ  I  

(Family  of  Diego 
Jose  Lopez,  of 
Portugal) 

LOUZADA      

MARACHE  . 

MARQUES  

MENDES  

NA  AR  

NONES  

NUNEZ  

OTTOLENGUI  

PALACHE  

(COHEN)  PEIXOTTO  
(MADURO)  PEIXOTTO.. 

PESOA  

PINTO  

RODRIGUEZ  

SARZEDAS  

SASPORTAS  

SEDCAS  

Sous  

SORIA  

SOUZA  

SUARES  

TOURO  

VALENTINE  

88 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN    AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

APPENDIX  II:   CONVERTS  TO  JUDAISM  THROUGH  MARRIAGE 
BEFORE  1840 

(The  Jewish  spouse  is  listed  first;  then  the  convert.) 

ALEXANDER,  ABRAHAM,  SR.,  married,  in  Charleston,  S.  C.,  his  second 
wife,  Ann  Sarah  Irby,  n6e  Huguenin,  of  Protestant  Huguenot 
extraction,  on  December  26,  1784,  at  which  time  he  was  appar- 
ently compelled  to  surrender  his  position  as  volunteer  hazzan  of 
Congregation  Beth  Elohim.  His  bride  evidently  underwent  a 
conversion  prior  to  their  marriage  and,  according  to  family 
tradition,  was  most  observant  in  her  Jewish  practices.  She  survived 
her  husband  by  nineteen  years  and  in  her  will  requested  burial 
in  the  cemetery  of  Beth  Elohim,  a  request  which  seems  not  to 
have  been  granted  as  her  conversion  failed  to  meet  strict  Jewish 
requirements.  (H.  A.  Alexander,  Notes  on  the  Alexander  Family  .  .  . 
[Atlanta:  privately  printed,  1954],  pp.  13-15.) 

COHEN,  ABRAHAM  HYAM,  was  the  son,  assistant,  and  successor  of  the 
Reverend  Jacob  Raphael  Cohen,  a  native  of  the  Barbary  States, 
who  had  served  Shearith  Israel  of  Montreal  and  of  New  York 
before  exchanging  pulpits,  in  1784,  with  Gershom  Mendes 
Seixas.  The  latter,  with  many  members  of  Philadelphia's  Mikveh 
Israel,  returned  to  New  York  after  the  Revolution,  and  Cohen 
went  to  serve  the  Philadelphia  congregation,  now  depleted  in 
membership.  Cohen  functioned  as  cantor,  ritual  slaughterer,  and 
circumciser  until  his  death  in  1811.  Ill-health  and  inadequate 
income  led  to  frequent  altercations  with  the  adjunta  ("board") 
of  the  congregation,  and  on  many  occasions  he  relied  on  his  son 
to  assist  or  replace  him.  Upon  the  father's  death,  the  son  func- 
tioned pro  tempore  until  he  secured  his  election  as  official  hazzan, 
but  in  1815,  Abraham  H.  Cohen  resigned  over  what  hie  consid- 
ered a  slight  to  his  father's  memory.  In  the  light  of  these  bog  raphi- 
cal  data,  it  is  perhaps  significant  that  the  Mikveh  Israel  records  are 
absolutely  silent  about  his  marriage.  Indeed,  our  only  source  of 
information  about  his  spouse  is  the  lady's  memoirs,  published  in 
1860  under  the  title,  Henry  Luria,  or  the  Little  Jewish  Convert  (New 
York:  John  F.  Trow,  printer),  a  precis  of  which  appears  in 
Ezekiel  and  Lichtenstein,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Richmond. 
The  future  Mrs.  Cohen,  n6e  Picken,  was  the  daughter  of  a 
Presbyterian  minister,  but  had  been  reared  as  an  Episcopalian, 
In  January,  1806,  when  she  met  Abraham  H.  Cohen,  she  was  a 

89 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

young  widow.  Their  romance  came  to  his  father's  ears,  anc 
called  his  son  before  the  adjunta,  which  endeavored  to  ext 
from  the  young  lover  an  oath  that  he  would  marry  only  a  Jevi 
Instead,  he  persuaded  his  sweetheart  to  embrace  Judaism, 
despite  the  traditional  rejection  of  converts,  the  full  cerem 
was  performed,  as  vividly  described  by  Mrs.  Cohen,  in 
presence  of  the  "elders  of  the  congregation,"  and  the  coi 
married  on  May  28,  1806.  It  is  probable  that  out  of  deferenc 
the  aging  and  infirm  father,  the  adjunta  permitted  the  marr 
to  take  place,  but  neither  Benjamin  Nones'  carefully  presei 
congregational  archives,  nor  the  Reverend  Jacob  Cohen's  deta 
record  of  his  births,  circumcisions,  and  marriages,  alludes  tc 
Subsequently,  in  1821,  Mrs.  Cohen  fell  ill  and  became  obsei 
with  a  desire  to  reject  her  conversion,  and  in  1828,  shortly  a 
her  husband  accepted  a  call  to  serve  as  hazzan  for  Beth  Shale 
Congregation  in  Richmond,  the  death  of  their  small  son,  He 
Luria,  led  the  mother  formally  to  recant  her  conversion.  r. 
precipitated  a  separation  in  1831,  and  they  remained  apart 
the  last  ten  years  of  the  husband's  life.  (Herbert  T.  Ezekiel 
Gaston  Lichtenstein,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Richmond, 
from  7769  to  1917  [Richmond,  1917],  pp.  219-21;  Edwin  V 
2nd  and  Maxwell  Whiteman,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Philade[ 
from  Colonial  Times  to  the  Age  of  Jackson  [Philadelphia,  19 
PP-  237-38.) 

COHEN,  JACOB  I.,  in  the  fall  of  1 782,  married  Elizabeth  (Esther)  Mordt 
ne'e  Whitlock.  She  was  evidently  English,  and  about  1760 
1761  converted  in  order  to  marry  Moses  Mordecai,  a  man  thi 
seven  years  her  senior,  who  brought  her  to  Philadelphia 
died  there  twenty  years  later,  leaving  her  a  poor  widow  v 
three  young  sons.  She  met  Jacob  I.   Cohen,  and  despite 
efforts  of  Congregation  Mikveh  Israel  to  block  their  marri 
on  the  ground  that  he  was  a  Cohen  (of  priestly  stock)  and 
eligible  to  marry  a  convert,  they  married,  moved  to  Richmc 
and  lived  "happily  ever  after."  She,  too,  seems  to  have  b 
denied   burial  in  the  Jewish  cemetery  of  Richmond,  for 
epitaph  is  in  the  record  of  St.  John's  Episcopal  Church.  (Eze 
and  Lichtenstein,    The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Richmond,   p. 
Jacob  R.   Marcus,   Early  American  Jewry   [Philadelphia,    19 
1953],  II,  185-87;  Wolf  and  Whiteman,  The  History  of  the  j 
of  Philadelphia,  p.  126.) 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

JUDAH,  URIAH  HENDRICKS,  as  his  name  indicates,  a  scion  of  two  of 
the  leading  families  in  New  York's  Congregation  Shearith  Israel, 
was  also  connected  genealogically  with  such  important  clans  as 
Seixas,  Gomez,  Nathan,  and  Myers.  We  can  imagine  the  stir 
created  when  he  fell  in  love  with  a  Gentile,  one  Gertrude  Simonson. 
Her  desire  to  convert  met  with  the  traditional  opposition  on  the 
part  of  the  congregation's  officialdom,  so  she  went  elsewhere 
(probably  to  one  of  the  three  Ashkenazic  congregations  which 
had  been  formed  in  New  York)  and  underwent  conversion.  The 
couple  returned  to  Shearith  Israel,  and  by  pointing  to  precedents 
in  the  congregation's  records,  persuaded  the  authorities  to  permit 
Hazzan  Isaac  B.  Seixas  to  solemnize  their  marriage,  which  took 
place  on  July  27,  1836.  One  wonders  whether  Uriah's  and 
Gertrude's  difficulties  affected  the  case  of  Uriah's  brother,  De 
Witt  Clinton  Judah,  When  his  eyes  strayed  matrimonially  beyond 
the  Jewish  fold,  there  is  no  record  of  any  effort  at  conversion,  and 
the  family  recorded  this  match  with  the  curt  statement:  "Married 
an  Irish  cook."  (David  and  Tamar  de  Sola  Pool,  An  Old  Faith 
in  the  New  World:  Portrait  of  Shearith  Israel,  1654-1954  [New  York, 
1955],  p.  251;  Shearith  Israel  Vital  Records.) 

LYON,  GEORGE,  is  known  to  us  only  through  the  vital  records  of  New 
York's  Shearith  Israel.  We  can  only  guess  that  either  his  arrival 
in  the  metropolis  from  some  outpost  or  his  sudden  desire  to  rear 
his  ever-growing  family  in  the  faith  of  his  fathers  brought  him  to 
arrange  for  the  conversion  of  his  wife,  Catherine  (maiden  name 
unrecorded),  a  ceremony  which  took  place  on  April  8,  1821. 
When,  three  years  later,  on  October  19,  1824,  their  sixth  child, 
Joseph,  was  born,  George  Lyon  recorded  his  birth  in  the  con- 
gregation's archives.  The  father  listed  himself  as  George  — 
Hebrew  name,  Judah,  son  of  Isaac  —  Lyon,  and  added  the 
names  of  his  first  five  children  (Shearith  Israel  Vital  Records) . 

NATHAN,  ESTHER,  youngest  of  the  five  daughters  of  Lyon  and  Caroline 
Webb  Nathan  (below),  married,  at  some  point,  a  Dr.  Bingley. 
On  the  grounds  that  her  father  was  an  official  of  the  synagogue, 
and  that  three  of  her  four  sisters  married  men  who  were  actively 
identified  with  congregations,  the  late  Dr.  Walter  Max  Kraus 
assumed  that  Bingley  was  a  convert  (Kraus-Sandor  Collection). 

NATHAN,  LYON,  married  in  New  York,  in  1750,  Caroline  Webb,  by 
whom  he  had  five  daughters.  By  1770,  he  was  living  in  Phila- 
delphia, and  when  Congregation  Mikveh  Israel  erected  its  first 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

synagogue,  he  was  the  successful  candidate  of  the  three  who 
applied  for  the  position  of  shammas  ("sexton").  On  this  slim 
evidence  we  have  made  the  assumption  that  his  wife  was  a 
convert,  or  else  deceased,  for  it  is  hardly  likely  that  the  husband 
of  a  Gentile  would  have  acquired  the  menial,  but  ritually 
important,  post  over  his  competitors.  (Kraus-Sandor  Collection; 
David  de  Sola  Pool,  Portraits  Etched  in  Stone:  Early  Jewish  Settlers, 
1682-1831  [New  York,  1952],  pp.  288,  401,  403,  412;  Wolf  and 
Whiteman,  p.  124.) 

NATHANS,  ISAIAH,  married,  as  his  first  wife,  a  woman  named  Barbara 
(last  name  unknown),  who,  upon  her  conversion,  was  given  the 
Hebrew  name  Sarah.  That  her  conversion  was  accepted  by  his 
fellow  Philadelphians  is  attested  by  the  fact  that  she  was  buried 
in  the  Spruce  Street  Burying  Ground  of  Mikveh  Israel  Con- 
gregation (Spruce  Street  Cemetery  Record). 

NATHANS,  MOSES,  elder  brother  of  Isaiah,  seems  to  have  lived  in 
common-law  relationship  with  a  non-Jewess,  Betty  Hart,  before 
1790.  On  January  n,  1792,  they  were  legally  married  in  Phila- 
delphia. Moses  petitioned  Mikveh  Israel  for  the  conversion  of  his 
wife,  and  after  some  delay,  this  was  accomplished.  They  were  re- 
married according  to  the  Jewish  rite  in  Philadelphia,  May  18, 
1 794,  and  she,  like  her  sister-in-law,  received  the  synagogal  name 
of  Sarah  Abrahams.  She  was  born  in  1756,  and  died  in  Phila- 
delphia, March  12,  1830,  with  burial  in  the  congregation's 
cemetery.  (Wolf  and  Whiteman,  p.  127;  Spruce  Street  Cemetery 
Record;  Myer  Solis-Cohen.) 

NONES,  DAVID  BENJAMIN,  son  of  the  Revolutionary  patriot,  Benjamin 
Nones,  married  a  woman  named  Anna.  As  the  eldest  son  of  a 
man  prominent  in  the  affairs  of  Mikveh  Israel,  David  succeeded 
in  bringing  his  wife  into  the  Jewish  fold  and  in  having  bestowed 
upon  her  the  Hebrew  equivalent  of  her  name,  Hannah,  with  the 
traditional  patronymic  of  a  convert,  bat  Abraham  (daughter  of 
Abraham  our  father).  Their  marriage  is  recorded,  probably  in 
his  father's  handwriting,  in  the  Mikveh  Israel  vital  records,  as 
having  taken  place  on  September  6,  1818,  and  she  found  accept- 
ance in  the  Jewish  community,  for  her  burial  is  recorded  for 
August  28,  1832  (Mikveh  Israel  Records;  Spruce  Street  Cemetery 
Records) . 

SALOMON,  DEBORAH,  renamed  DELIA  (probably  at  a  time  of  severe 
illness  to  delude  the  Angel  of  Death,  in  keeping  with  a  traditional 

92 


FUNCTION   OF   GENEALOGY   IN   AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

Jewish  custom),  was  the  eldest  child  of  Haym  M.  Salomon,  and 
granddaughter  of  the  famous  financier,  Haym  Salomon.  On  July 
15,  1840,  she  married,  in  the  city  of  New  York,  a  convert  to 
Judaism,  Dr.  J.  W.  (or  T.  W.}  Donovan.  This  conversion  is  attested 
by  the  fact  that  the  marriage  is  recorded  in  the  Shearith  Israel 
vital  records.  Her  father,  too,  mentions  the  marriage  and  the 
name  of  this  son-in-law  without  comment,  whereas,  when  Delia's 
brother,  Ezekiel,  married,  the  father  wrote:  "Married  a  lady 
not  a  Hebrew.  .  ."  (Shearith  Israel  Vital  Records,  Salomon 
Family  Record  [American  Jewish  Historical  Society]). 

SEIXAS,  BENJAMIN  (1811-1871)5  eldest  son  of  Moses  Benjamin  and 
Judith  Levy  Seixas,  belonged  to  a  family  both  prolific  and 
actively  identified  with  colonial  congregations  for  three  genera- 
tions before  Benjamin's  birth.  We  do  not  know  exactly  when 
Benjamin  married  Mary  Jessup,  but  their  eldest  child  was  born 
in  New  York,  on  June  21,  1832.  At  the  time  of  the  marriage, 
Benjamin's  uncle,  Isaac  B.  Seixas,  must  have  been  functioning 
as  hazzan  of  New  York's  Shearith  Israel.  The  absence  of  the 
marriage  from  the  congregation's  vital  records  may  show  that 
Benjamin,  to  avoid  embarrassment  to  his  uncle,  took  his  bride 
to  one  of  the  "German"  congregations  for  conversion.  Evidently 
her  conversion  was  recognized,  for  her  death  on  January  25, 
1869,  is  recorded,  and  she  seems  to  have  been  buried  in  the 
congregation's  cemetery  at  Cypress  Hills.  (Shearith  Israel  Vital 
Records;  Pool,  An  Old  Faith,  pp.  176  f.) 


93 


MALCOLM  H. STERN 


APPENDIX  III:   UNUSUAL  INSTANCES  OF 
INTERMARRIAGE  BEFORE  1840 

DA  COSTA,  SARAH,  daughter  of  Isaac  Da  Costa,  first  hazzan  of 
Charleston's  Congregation  Beth  Elohim,  married  a  Revolutionary 
colonel,  David  Mqysor,  of  whom  nothing  is  known,  but  who  seems 
definitely  not  to  have  been  a  Jew.  His  death  in  1780,  three 
years  after  the  birth  of  their  only  known  child,  Rebecca,  un- 
doubtedly led  her  mother  to  rear  Rebecca  as  a  Jewess.  Thus  it 
was  that  Rebecca  subsequently  married  the  scion  of  a  well-known 
Jewish  family,  David  Hyams.  (Charles  Reznikoff,  with  the  col- 
laboration of  Uriah  Z.  Engelman,  The  Jews  of  Charleston:  A 
History  of  an  American  Jewish  Community  [Philadelphia,  1950], 
p.  15;  DAR  Lineage  Book;  Ancker  DAR  Lineage.) 

FRANKS,  DAVID,  the  important  Philadelphia  merchant  and  land 
promoter,  as  is  well-known,  married  Margaret  Evans,  a  daughter 
of  Philadelphia's  Registrar  of  Wills.  Their  five  children,  born 
between  1744  and  1760,  were  all  baptized  at  Christ  Church, 
although  David  Franks  maintained  a  semblance  of  Jewish  identity 
by  contributing  to  his  father's  synagogue,  Shearith  Israel  of 
New  York,  and  even  attended  services  there.  (Marcus,  Early 
American  Jewry,  II,  10  f.;  Wolf  and  Whiteman,  p.  33.) 

HART,  BERNARD  (1763-1855),  well-known  in  the  annals  of  New  York's 
Shearith  Israel  as  well  as  in  those  of  the  New  York  Stock  Exchange, 
whose  secretary  he  was,  in  1799  contracted  a  marriage  with  a 
non- Jewess,  Catherine  Brett.  They  soon  separated,  and  even  though 
he  contributed  to  her  support  and  that  of  their  son  Henry,  this 
liaison  remained  a  secret  for  over  a  century.  Bernard  subsequently 
married  Rebecca  Seixas  and  had  a  large  family,  long  unaware  of 
their  relationship  to  one  of  America's  leading  men  of  letters,  Bret 
Harte,  grandson  of  Bernard.  (Helen  I.  Davis,  "Bret  Harte  and 
His  Jewish  Ancestor,  Bernard  Hart,"  PAJHS,  XXXII,  99-1 1 1 ; 
Pool,  An  Old  Faith  in  the  New  World,  p.  316.) 

ISAACS,  RALPH,  a  colonial  resident  of  Connecticut,  may  or  may  not 
have  been  a  Jew.  Kraus  states  that  he  was  a  cousin  of  Aaron 
Isaacs  of  Easthampton,  L.  I.,  a  known  Jew,  but  fails  to  support 
the  statement  with  evidence.  If  Kraus  is  correct,  then  his  deduction 
that  Isaacs  was  a  convert  to  Christianity  may  also  be  correct. 
(Kraus-Sandor  Collection;  cf.  Jacob  R.  Marcus,  "Light  on  Early 
Connecticut  Jewry,"  American  Jewish  Archives,  I  [No.  2],  20-21.) 

94 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY   IN    AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

ISRAEL,  ISRAEL,  is  a  similar  case  of  questionable  Jewish  origin.  Morais, 
who  consulted  with  Israel's  descendants,  points  out  that  the 
family  was  of  Jewish  origin,  but  that  Israel  Israel  himself  was 
not  Jewish.  He  is  known  to  have  been  the  son  of  Michael  Israe] 
and  Mary  J.  Paxton,  of  Philadelphia.  It  is  also  known  that  Isaac 
Adolphus,  prominent  New  York  Jewish  merchant,  had  a  nephew, 
by  the  name  of  Michael  Israel,  resident  in  Philadelphia  in  the 
eighteenth  century,  and  we  have  chosen  to  believe  that  the  two 
Michael  Israels  are  the  same  individual.  If  our  assumption  is 
correct,  then  Israel  Israel,  the  son  of  a  Jewish  father  and  a  Chris- 
tian mother,  was  baptized  on  June  13,  1746,  at  the  age  of  twenty 
months.  (Henry  Samuel  Morais,  The  Jews  of  Philadelphia:  T heir 
History  from  the  Earliest  Settlement  to  the  Present  Time  [Philadelphia, 
l894L  PP-  3I-34;  Elzas  Mss.) 

JUDAH,  MARIA,  was  the  fourth  child  of  Benjamin  S.  Judah  (1760- 
1831),  one  of  the  most  active  and  prominent  members  of  Con- 
gregation Shearith  Israel  in  New  York.  Benjamin  was  a  man  of 
strong  opinions,  ever  ready  to  fight  for  his  views.  History  does  not 
record  his  reactions  when,  on  January  28,  1829,  Maria  became 
the  bride  of  Stephen  C.  Richard,  "in  a  church."  (Kraus-Sandor 
Collection;  Pool,  Portraits  Etched  in  Stone;  Pool,  An  Old  Faith  in 
the  New  World.) 

LEVY,  SAMSON  (1722-1781),  was  the  fourth  child  and  oldest  son  of 
Moses  Levy  and  his  second  wife,  Grace  Mears.  Moses  Levy  was  the 
most  prosperous  member  of  Shearith  Israel  in  the  early  decades 
of  the  eighteenth  century  and  seems  to  have  been  president  of  the 
congregation  at  the  time  of  his  death  in  1728,  shortly  before  the 
erection  of  the  congregation's  first  synagogue.  Samson  followed 
his  older  half-brothers,  Nathan  and  Isaac,  to  Philadelphia.  On 
November  3,  1752/3,  he  married,  in  Old  Swedes'  Church,  a 
widow,  Martha  Lampley  Thompson.  According  to  the  well-preserved 
family  Bible,  their  eldest  son  was  circumcised  by  the  New  York 
mohel,  Jacob  Moses,  in  1754.  The  gradual  assimilation  of  the 
family  is  attested  by  the  fact  that  no  more  circumcisions  are 
recorded,  and  in  1780,  the  three  youngest  children,  Henrietta, 
Samson,  Jr.,  and  Rachel,  were  baptized  in  Christ  Church  at  the 
ages  of  twelve,  sixteen,  and  nine,  respectively,  (Lee  M.  Friedman, 
Pilgrims  in  a  New  Land  [Philadelphia,  1948],  p.  96;  Pool,  Portraits 
Etched  in  Stone,  pp.  198-201.) 


95 


MALCOLM  H.  STERN 

LOPEZ,  DAVID,  JR.,  a  scion  of  the  Charleston,  S.  C.,  branch  of  the  old 
Newport  clan,  married,  in  April,  1832,  a  non-Jewess,  Catherine  D. 
Hinton,  by  whom  he  had  five  children.  Her  death  in  1843  precip- 
itated a  burial  problem  for  Congregation  Beth  Elohim.  Lopez 
solved  the  problem  by  purchasing  his  own  cemetery  adjacent  to 
that  of  the  congregation.  His  second  wife,  Rebecca  Moise,  was  a 
Jewess,  which  may  account  for  the  fact  that  the  three  of  her 
stepchildren  (whom  she  helped  rear  with  her  own  brood  of  six) 
who  married  did  so  within  the  Jewish  fold.  (Lopez  Genealogy, 
in  Jacob  R.  Marcus  Collection;  Reznikoff  and  Engelman,  p.  152.) 

MARKS,  MORDECAI,  eight  months  before  his  marriage  to  Elizabeth 
Torieu,  of  Stratford,  Conn.,  was  baptized  in  the  Episcopal  Church, 
on  April  20,  1729.  The  baptismal  record  lists  him  as  "Mordecai 
Marks,  Jew."  (S.  Orcutt,  History  of  Stratford,  Conn.,  II,  pp.  1243- 
44;  cf.  Jacob  R.  Marcus,  "Light  on  Early  Connecticut  Jewry," 
American  Jewish  Archives,  I,  No.  2,  p.  26.) 

MARX,  CAROLINE  (1800-83),  demonstrates  the  gradual  assimilation  of 
two  Virginia  families:  the  Marx  family,  descended  from  Joseph 
Marx,  of  Richmond;  and  the  Myers  family,  descended  from 
Moses  Myers,  of  Norfolk.  A  glance  at  the  genealogies  of  these 
two  clans  will  show  that  Caroline  became  the  second  wile  of 
Richard  Barton,  plantation  owner  of  Orange  County,  Virginia. 
Caroline's  older  sisters,  Louisa  and  Judith  Marx,  married  the 
brothers  Samuel  and  Myer  Myers  of  Norfolk,  respectively.  The 
Myers  clan  was  apparently  stronger  in  their  Judaism  than 
the  Marxes,  for  on  the  death  of  Myer  Myers,  his  widow,  Judith, 
promptly  became  an  Episcopalian.  And  the  marriages  of  the 
subsequent  generations  between  descendants  of  the  Bartons  and 
those  of  Samuel  and  Louisa  Myers  led  to  further  defections  from 
the  Jewish  fold.  Samuel  and  Louisa's  son,  Moses  Myers  II,  was 
buried  in  Norfolk's  Hebrew  cemetery,  but  his  remains  were 
removed  by  his  son  Barton  to  the  Christian  Elmwood  Cemetery. 
(Family  records.) 

MOISE,  THEODORE  SIDNEY,  a  member  of  a  well-known  Charleston 
family,  married,  in  1836,  Cecilia  F.  Moses,  a  Charleston  Jewess. 
He  found  Charleston  a  barren  field  for  his  talents  as  a  portrait 
artist  and  subsequently,  following  the  death  of  his  wife,  moved 
to  New  Orleans,  where  he  married  a  Catholic,  Matilda  Vaughan. 
Two  of  their  offspring  entered  the  Church,  Robert  as  a  priest, 

96 


FUNCTION    OF   GENEALOGY  IN  AMERICAN  JEWISH   HISTORY 

and  Charles  as  Brother  Ambrose,  (Elzas  Mss.;  Reznikoff  and 
Engelman,  p.  88.) 

PETTIGREW,  JAMES  (1756-1793),  a  Scottish-born  Revolutionary  soldier, 
met  and  eloped  with  Judith,  daughter  of  Myer  Hart,  one  of  the 
founders  of  Easton,  Pa.,  and  its  leading  Jewish  merchant.  They 
were  married  by  a  Christian  chaplain,  but  with  the  prospective 
arrival  of  their  first  child,  her  mother  persuaded  Judith's  uncle,  the 
Reverend  Mordecai  M.  Mordecai,  a  functionary  of  Philadelphia's 
Mikveh  Israel,  to  perform  a  Jewish  wedding  ceremony.  The 
young  couple  agreed  that  their  sons  would  be  reared  as  Christians 
and  their  daughters  as  Jewesses.  Mordecai's  action  led  to  a  cause 
citibre  when  the  news  leaked  into  Philadelphia.  Family  records 
indicate  that,  of  the  Pettigrews'  seven  children,  three  daughters 
married,  and  married  Jews,  so  the  agreement  was  evidently  kept. 
(The  St.  Charles,  I  [1935],  pp.  I33f.;  Wolf  and  Whiteman,  pp. 
128-29.) 

SIMON,  SHINAH,  one  of  the  daughters  of  Pennsylvania's  important 
Jewish  landowner  and  trader,  Joseph  Simon,  married,  on  August 
13,  1782,  Dr.  Nicholas  Schuyler,  of  a  prominent  New  York  State 
family.  She  seems  to  have  converted  to  Christianity,  yet  main- 
tained close  associations  with  her  family,  despite  legends  to  the 
contrary,  now  proved  spurious.  (PAJHS,  XXXI,  241 ;  Rollin  G. 
Osterweis,  Rebecca  Gratz:  a  Study  in  Charm  [New  York,  1935]; 
Joseph  R.  Rosenbloom,  "And  She  Had  Compassion:  The  Life  and 
Times  of  Rebecca  Gratz"  [Doctoral  dissertation,  Hebrew  Union 
College  -Jewish  Institute  of  Religion,  1957].) 


The  Henry  Joseph  Collection 

of  the  Gratz  Family  Papers 

at  the  American  Jewish  Archives 

A  Survey  of  the  Yiddish  Material 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 


OF  the  largest  collections  of  papers  relating  to 
eighteenth-century  American  Jewry  is  that  of  the  Gratz  family. 
The  bulk  of  this  collection  is  found  at  the  Historical  Society  of 
Pennsylvania,  The  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia,  the  Amer- 
ican Jewish  Historical  Society,  and  the  Henry  Joseph  Collection 
in  the  possession  of  the  American  Jewish  Archives.  It  is  from  the 
latter  source  that  the  material  described  on  the  following  pages 
has  been  selected. 

Some  of  the  material  in  the  Henry  Joseph  Collection  is  in 
Yiddish,  i.  e.,  the  Judeo-German  idiom  of  the  Jews  of  Holland, 
Germany,  and  the  eastern  countries  of  Europe.  Insofar  as  the 
term  "Yiddish"  is  applied  to  the  modern  vernacular  of  the  East 
European  Jews,  it  should  be  understood  that  the  eighteenth- 
century  language  of  the  Jews  represents  a  greatly  different  idiom. 
It  is  much  closer,  both  in  vocabulary  and  in  structure,  to  the 
standard  German  of  its  time  than  is  modern  Yiddish  to  modern 
German.  Its  spelling  is  considerably  different  and,  of  course, 

Rabbi  M.  Arthur  Oles  is  the  spiritual  leader  of  Temple  Beth  Am,  Seattle,  Wash. 

99 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

as  is  the  case  with  other  languages  of  the  time,  much  less 
standardized  than  today. 

While  it  would  require  an  exhaustive  linguistic  study  to 
determine  precise  dialectal  variations,  certain  characteristics 
can  be  more  easily  detected.  The  Yiddish  idiom  is  an  offshoot 
of  Middle  High  German *  and  is  thus  easily  distinguished  from 
the  Low  German  of  the  North,  in  which  even  Dutch  may  be 
included  for  our  purpose.  In  fact,  the  community  of  Ashkenazic 
Jews  in  Hamburg  was  at  one  time  called  that  of  the  Hoch- 
deutsche,  as  contrasted  with  the  Sephardic  group  who  spoke  Low 
German.2  Furthermore,  while  the  High  German  character  of 
Yiddish  was  evident,  it  was  no  longer  identical  with  the  con- 
temporary eighteenth-century  German.  The  result  of  these  two 
facts  is  that  one  can  detect,  without  undue  difficulty,  idiomatic 
expressions  essentially  foreign  to  Yiddish,  whether  they  are  of 
High  or  of  Low  German  origin.  It  is  possible,  therefore,  to 
deduce  from  the  use  of  such  expressions  the  close  familiarity  of 
the  writer  with  one  or  the  other. 3 

Thus,  for  example,  the  use  of  the  relative  pronoun  wo  for  was 
by  Aaron  Levy  would  indicate  familiarity  with  High  German 
rather  than  Dutch. 4  While  a  single  usage  of  this  kind  may  not 
be  at  all  conclusive,  it  should  be  kept  in  mind  that  it  is  a  word 
not  common  in  the  Yiddish  books  or  letters  of  the  time  and  would 
thus  have  hardly  been  acquired  synthetically.  Other  examples 
will  be  pointed  out  where  they  occur. 

Of  great  interest  are  Aaron  Levy's  two  English  notes  written 
in  Hebrew  letters  —  one  of  them,  the  draft  of  a  contract,  and 

*  Matthias  Micses,  Die  Jiddische  Sprache  (Berlin,  1924),  p.  203. 
a  Article  "Hamburg,"  in  Judisches  Lexikon  (Berlin,  1928). 

3  Joshua  N*  Neumann,  "Some  Eighteenth  Century  American  Jewish  Letters," 
Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society  (PAJHS\  XXXIV  (1937),  102-3. 

*  Sidney  M.  Fish,  Aaron  Levy,  Founder  of  Aaronsburg  (New  York,  1951),  p.  I,  assumes, 
on  the  basis  of  weak  evidence,  that  Levy  came  from  Holland. 

IOO 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

the  other,  a  short  notation  (Nos.  33  and  37). s  In  all  the  Amer- 
ican Yiddish  letters,  and  in  the  Yiddish  insertions  in  Englist 
letters,  there  are  found  many  English  words  and  expressions 
spelled  in  Hebrew  characters.  Levy's  samples  are  almost  unique 
in  that  they  are  completely  in  English.  It  may  be  suggested, 
perhaps,  that  these  documents  indicate  a  great  linguistic 
adaptability  on  Levy's  part,  an  adaptability  which  would  rendei 
our  previous  point  about  his  German  provenance  even  more 
significant.  Particularly  revealing  in  this  respect  are  the  notations 
made  for  his  own  information  (No.  37  and  others  occurring 
sporadically).  For  a  man  who  certainly  was  at  home  in  Yiddish, 
his  use  of  English  was  quite  significant.  The  Hebrew  script  may 
have  been  a  device  to  keep  those  notes  from  prying  eyes,  bu1 
the  English  language  was  his  own  preference,  strongly  suggesting 
that  he  had  good  ability  in  that  direction. 6 

A  word  of  caution  is  in  order  here:  there  is  a  temptation  to  be 
influenced  in  the  interpretation  of  dialectal  peculiarities,  eithei 
by  the  Yiddish  of  the  twentieth  century  or  by  irregularities  ir 
spelling,  such  as,  for  example,  the  substitution  of  d  for  J,  b  for  p. 
etc.,  and  vice  versa.  In  studying  the  phonetics  of  eighteenth- 
century  American  Yiddish,  we  usually  deal  with  two  unknowns: 
the  writer's  pronunciation  of  words  and  of  specific  letters  of  the 
Hebrew  alphabet.  Aaron  Levy's  repeated  use  of  a  spelling  like 
*]Vs7S  irto  ["my  tself ']  for  "myself,"  for  example,  makes  one 
wonder  how  Levy  pronounced  the  word  or  how  he  pronounced 
the  letter  s.  The  problem  can  be  more  fully  realized  when  one 
remembers  that  among  some  Sephardim  of  today  the  25  sounds 
like  an  s,  that  most  German  Jews  pronounce  t  like  an  s  rathei 
than  a  £,  and  that  the  writer  of  this  article  has  heard  some 
German  Jews  pronounce  the  Hebrew  0  like  the  German  £  ( =  is) 

*  There  are  a  number  of  very  short  notations  of  the  same  type,  not  reproduced  here 
6  It  should  be  understood  that  this  has  no  relation  to  orthography. 

101 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

Add  to  that  the  well-known  confusion  among  Lithuanian  Jews 
between  s  and  sh,  and  the  consistent  ignoring  by  some  of  an 
initial  h  and  the  sounding  of  an  h  before  an  initial  vowel,  and  one 
gets  an  inkling  of  the  great  variations  in  Hebrew  and  Yiddish 
pronunciation  existing  today.  There  is  no  reason  to  assume 
that  there  was  greater  uniformity  in  the  eighteenth  century. 6a 

Regarding  the  occasional  tendency  to  use  modern  Yiddish 
as  a  point  of  reference,  one  must  proceed  with  the  utmost 
caution.  Thus,  to  consider  ffVtf  (als)  as  an  obsolete  spelling  of 
the  modern  TK  [az]  and,  therefore,  to  include  it  in  a  list  of 
"phonetic  and  orthographic  peculiarities,"  as  Joshua  N.  Neu- 
mann does,7  is  to  ignore  the  fact  that,  though  they  may  be 
etymologically  related  and  even  interchangeably  used  in  some 
German  dialects, 8  they  are  nevertheless  two  separate  words. 

There  seems  to  be  a  particular  affinity  for  the  use  of  1  where 
one  would  expect  p  and  of  1  where  D  would  be  appropriate. 
Examples  are  pJfcni  [grank,  or  German  krank  =  "ill"]  in  No.  24; 
TVinn«a  [bartiglir^ English  "particular"];  Bpsnosn  [resbekt  — 
English  "respect"]  in  No.  31 ;  HOBttStt  [negste,  or  German  nachste  = 
"next"]  in  No.  28;  T^D*1X1  [barsilz  =  English  "parcels"]  in  No. 
36;  and  many  more.  A  hard  consonant,  on  the  other  hand,  is 
sometimes  substituted  for  a  soft  one:  WIN  [unt,  or  German  und— 
"and"]  in  No.  9;  MtnxpK  [akorting  =  English  "according"]; 
m&JK  [antere,  or  German  andere  =  "others"]  in  No.  31 ;  and  others. 
The  occurrence  of  such  apparent  substitutions,  while  neither 
consistent  nor  very  frequent,  is  nevertheless  rather  typical  of  the 
time,  as  is  attested  by  the  variety  of  writers  who  employ  them. 

da  See,  for  example,  the  comment  on  No.  41. 

7  Neumann,  "Letters,"  p.  105. 

8  Alfred  Landau,  "Die  Sprache  der  Memoiren  Gluckels  von  Hameln,"  Mitteilungen 
der  Gesdlschaft  fur  Judische  Vdkskmde  (MGJV),  VII  (1901),  47,  51;  Alfred  Landau 
and  Bernhard  Wachstein,  Judische  Priv  at  brief e  aus  dem  Jakre  1619  (Vienna,  1911), 
115-16. 

102 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

It  is  worth  mentioning  that  similar  cases  occur  also  in  the  letters 
reproduced  by  Alfred  Landau  and  Bernhard  Wachstein, 9  letters 
which  are  older  by  some  150  years. 

Most  peculiarities  in  spelling10  are  found  in  the  Hebrew 
transliterations  of  English  words  and  names.  This  fact  is  not 
surprising,  since  no  traditional  spelling  was  available.  While 
English  is,  of  course,  written  phonetically  in  Hebrew  characters, 
that  rendition  is  improvised  and  fully  dependent  on  the  writer's 
own  ear,  accent,  or  predilection.  Meyer  Josephson,  for  example, 
spells  the  name  of  Barnard  Jacobs  as  mpttff  BKnw, x  r  whereas 
Aaron  Levy  spells  it  as  ff»pTO  T21M  (No.  28). I2  Leizer  ben  Leib 
(No.  12),  who  by  his  own  admission  could  not  write  "Heng- 
lish,"  writes  VDpsn  ttntfl.  Aaron  Levy  spells  his  own  name  as 
rD1*1?  pl^. *  3  Examples  of  this  type  abound  and  are  not  confined 
to  names  alone. 

Hebrew  words  and  phrases  are  very  common  in  Yiddish.  The 
salutation  in  a  letter  is  almost  invariably  in  Hebrew,  and  is  so 
formalized  that,  except  where  gross  misspelling  occurs,  it  has 
no  significance  whatsoever  in  determining  the  Hebrew  scholar- 
ship of  the  writer.  A  typical  salutation  might  be  the  following 
excerpt  from  No.  41 :  K'"»K  pspm  twin  *]V?Kn  rran  WK  "in1?  D^B 
VWIKDI  nno*o  VTI  JWK  fiTonm  nsnasn  intwrtn  rsr  DSOTM  TM  BTD 
pnr»Ti  ttr^KDi  "TW  Him  m&  "Peace  to  my  beloved  master  and 
friend,  the  chief,  head,  and  magnate,  the  God-fearing  and 
exalted  Mr.  Barnard,  may  the  Lord  protect  him,  and  to  his 
chaste  and  pious  wife,  a  woman  of  valor  like  Esther  and  Abi- 

9  Landau  and  Wachstein,  pp.  115-33. 

I  °  No  account  is  taken  here  of  the  general  deviations  from  present  Yiddish  orthog- 
raphy, many  of  which  are  adequately  discussed  by  Landau  and  Wachstein,  Jiidische 
Privatbriefe,  and  by  Landau,  in  MGJV. 

II  Neumann,  p.  197. 

Ia  Interestingly,  both  render  the  initial  J  by  0. 

x*  His  signature,  however,  is  invariably  pn«  13  prw. 

103 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

gail,  x  4  Mrs.  Richea,  may  she  live,  and  peace  to  all  that  is  yours. 
First  of  all,  praise  to  God.  Secondly  .  .  ."  Although  these 
forms  are  not  identical,  they  are  well  standardized.  An  interest- 
ing feature  is  that  frequently,  though  not  universally,  there 
appears  the  form:  j?"*?1  T"i,  "first  of  all,  may  the  holy  God  be 
praised,"  and  the  letter  proper  begins  with  the  word  ITW, 
"secondly."  The  religious  implication  is  clear.  Sometimes,  as  in 
No.  3,  the  writer  will  omit  the  word  JTW.  Sometimes,  as  in 
No.  6,  he  writes  nw,  although  he  had  omitted  TH.  Occasionally 
the  salutation  is  omitted  altogether.  An  example  of  this  type  is 
the  series  of  notes  to  Benjamin  Nathan  (Nos.  17-20).  The 
extremely  unfriendly  nature  of  the  communications  may  have 
persuaded  the  writers  to  dispense  with  all  formal  courtesies. 
It  is  possible,  however,  that  they  were  omitted  for  the  sake  of 
brevity,  since  these  are  only  copies,  and  that  the  originals 
preserved  the  customary  form.  Another  letter  without  any 
opening  formalities  is  No.  7.  Here,  Meyer  Josephson  is  obviously 
so  shaken  by  the  death  of  his  employee  that  he  simply  forgets 
the  formal  niceties. 

With  the  signature  there  is  usually  an  expression  such  as 
imffV  pi»n  •*»»,  "from  me,  ready  to  serve  you,"  or  *]TT»  rftto, 
"from  me,  your  friend,"  or  something  similar,  usually  in  Hebrew, 
followed  by  the  signature.  The  concluding  line  is,  thus,  less 
elaborate,  though  hardly  less  standardized,  than  the  address, 
Sometimes  we  find  a  line  like:  "Further,  I  remain  your  well- 
wisher  who  prays  day  and  night  for  your  long  life,  Rachel, 
daughter  of  Seligman  Aaron"  (No.  40;  the  line  is  here  in 
Yiddish).  Meyer  Josephson  likes  to  conclude  his  letters,  after 
the  signature  and  the  postscript,  with  the  words  J7HX  or 
BM1?,  "Adieu"  or  "Adieu,  farewell."15 


x*  This  name  provides  a  simple  rhyme  in  Hebrew. 
x*  Nos.  3  and  6,  also  the  letters  reproduced  by  Neumann. 
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HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

The  signature  is  often  followed  by  a  postscript,  which  may  be 
almost  a  continuation  of  the  letter  proper  (No.  31),  or  an 
apology  of  some  sort  (No.  40).  If  there  exists  any  personal 
acquaintance  at  all,  the  postscript  will  contain  greetings  to 
any  number  of  people. 

Besides  the  salutation  and  the  concluding  lines,  Hebrew 
appears  in  the  Yiddish  of  our  letters  quite  extensively.  Very  com- 
mon are  hybrid  expressions  like  fwm  Vapfc,  "received";  mwn 
pw)&,  "answer";  ft  paaa,  "believe";  and  p  MID,  "write." 
Words  like  "hour,"  "day,"  "month,"  and  "year"  are  usually 
rendered  in  Hebrew,  as  are  "also,"  "therefore,"  and  business 
terms  like  "cheap,"  "expensive,"  "profit,"  "business,"  etc.  It 
would  be  idle  to  present  here  a  complete  list  of  such  words  and 
expressions. 

Another  type  of  hybridization  is  the  use  of  Hebrew  words  as 
though  they  were  Germanic,  and  thus  to  conjugate  or  decline 
them  in  the  Yiddish  manner.  This  type  of  usage,  very  common  in 
modern  Yiddish  as  well,  is  exemplified  by  words  such  as  vtaai, 
from  nVna,  "cadaver"  (No.  41);  pain,  from  nain,  "shame" 
(No.  24);  and  iviicnn  raff,  "Sabbath  expenses,"  the  two  Hebrew 
words  being  joined  here  in  the  German  or  English  manner 
(No.  9). 

It  would  require  an  intensive  linguistic  study,  thus  far  un- 
attempted,  to  establish  the  system  by  which  the  inclusion  of 
certain  Hebrew  words  was  determined.  Their  use  appears  at 
first  sight  rather  arbitrary,  except  for  religious  terms  which  are 
consistently  in  Hebrew.  The  regular  appearance  of  certain 
Hebrew  words  in  virtually  all  the  letters,  however,  leads  one  to 
suspect  something  more  than  haphazard  selection,16  Another 

x6  Cf.  Landau  and  Wachstein,  p.  xxxi,  and  elsewhere  in  the  introduction. 
The  following  works  also  are  referred  to  in  the  notes  on  the  letters: 
Jacob  Radcr  Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry,  2  vols.  (Philadelphia,  1951-53). 
Edwin  Wolf  2nd  and  Maxwell  Whiteman,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Philadelphia 
from  Colonial  Times  to  the  Age  of  Jackson  (Philadelphia,  1957). 

105 


M.   ARTHUR  OLES 

subject  for  further  investigation  would  be  the  non-Germanic 
and  non-Hebrew  elements,  including  Slavic,  French,  and 
English.  They  cannot  be  adequately  discussed  here,  although 
something  more  will  be  said  about  English  later  on. 

It  is  possible  at  times  to  determine  whether  the  writer  was  well 
versed  in  the  Hebrew  language,  or  whether  such  Hebrew  words 
were  used  merely  as  customary  elements  of  the  Yiddish  ver- 
nacular. A  safe  assumption  is  that  everyone  who  wrote  Yiddish 
letters  was  somewhat  familiar  with  the  Hebrew  of  the  liturgy, 
although  not  necessarily  fluent  in  it.  But  it  is  a  long  step  from 
reading  or  even  remembering  the  text  of  the  Hebrew  prayer 
book  to  being  able  to  reproduce  Hebrew  vocabulary  in  its  proper 
spelling,  especially  in  the  midst  of  a  phonetically  spelled  Yiddish 
letter.  That  is  why  we  find,  for  example,  such  words  as  pp^K 
(for  p  ^57,  "therefore");  TO  (for  ^,  "Gentile")  in  No.  28; 
nVsnsn,  rfaasw,  rftsna  (for  rfeai,  "cadaver")  in  No.  41;  *\xn  (for 
ann,  "debt")  in  No.  10;  and  many  others.  As  isolated  instances, 
such  spellings  may  be  due  merely  to  inattention.  If  they  occur 
consistently,  we  are  justified  in  assuming  that  the  writer's 
acquaintance  with  the  Hebrew  tongue  was  sketchy  and  did  not 
go  far  beyond  the  mechanics  of  Jewish  ritual. 

If,  on  the  other  hand,  Hebrew  words  and  phrases  are  used 
extensively  and  are  usually  correctly  applied  and  spelled,  we 
may  take  it  as  reliable  evidence  of  the  writer's  learning  in  the 
field  of  Hebrew.  Such  evidence  is  present  in  the  letters  of  Meyer 
Josephson,  who  makes  frequent  use  of  Hebrew  in  a  correct  and 
appropriate  manner.  Similarly,  Mordecai  Moses  Mordecai  and 
Leizer  ben  Leib  evidence  a  thorough  familiarity  with  good 
Hebrew.  The  letter  of  Rachel  bas  Seligman  (No.  40)  paraphrases 
a  talmudic  expression  characterizing  intoxication:  m  *«7  vVK 
wia  -jro  2K  pn  IT-IK  pa  arm,  "as  though  he  could  not  dis- 
tinguish between  'cursed  be  Hainan5  and c blessed  be  Mordecai'  " 
[see  Tractate  Megillah  yb].  Also,  she  uses  the  expression 

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HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 


(for  O^DnV,  "spitefully55)  and,  by  including  the  1  sound,  makes 
here  a  substitution  that  is  still  very  common. 

Mention  has  already  been  made  of  the  transliteration  ol 
English  words.  It  is,  of  course,  to  be  expected  that  English  words 
and  phrases  will  find  their  way  into  the  Yiddish  of  American 
Jews.  That  is  part  of  the  inevitable  process  of  linguistic  assimila- 
tion. It  is,  furthermore,  quite  understandable  that  English 
predominates  in  those  pursuits  furthest  removed  from  condi- 
tions and  experiences  in  the  old  country.  Thus  it  is  that  the 
American  Jewish  "merchant"  finds  himself  with  a  very  unsatis- 
factory Yiddish  vocabulary  of  business  terms,  since  the  usual 
business  activity  of  the  Ashkenazic  Jew  of  Europe  was  confined 
to  petty  trade.  Adding  to  this  deficiency  the  fact  that  it  was  in  his 
business  life  that  English  was  most  necessary,  we  justly  expect 
to  find  that  the  major  portion  of  English  vocabulary  in  the 
Yiddish  letters  consists  of  business  terms.  And,  of  course,  we  are 
not  disappointed.  Such  words  as  "charge,55  "account,55  "bill,55 
"certificate,55  "order,55  "exchange,55  "suit,55  "writ,55  etc.,  abound 
in  the  business  correspondence.  In  addition,  we  find  words  like 
"satisfaction,55  "particular,55  "iron,55  "box,55  "board,55  "proof,55 
"assembly,55  and  many  more.  The  varieties  in  the  spelling  of 
these  words  have  already  been  mentioned,  and  examples  could 
be  multiplied  almost  endlessly. 

The  question  may  well  be  asked  here  why  these  letters  were 
written  in  Yiddish  and  not  in  English.  One  might  assume,  con- 
sidering the  fact  that  most  of  the  writers  had  been  conducting 
their  business  in  America,  that  they  would  have  a  sufficient 
command  of  English  to  make  use  of  it  in  their  correspondence. 
Yet  they  preferred  to  use  Yiddish  for  at  least  a  goodly  part  of  it. 

Without  a  more  intensive  study  of  the  material  than  has  been 
possible  so  far,  a  definitive  answer  cannot  be  attempted.  Yet 
certain  considerations  present  themselves,  some  subject  to  veri- 
fication by  further  research,  some  of  a  purely  speculative  nature. 

107 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

We  must  take  into  account,  first  of  all,  the  possibility  that  for 
some  people  Yiddish  may  have  been  the  preferred  tongue  in 
general,  and  that  they  availed  themselves  of  the  opportunity  to 
use  it  wherever  possible.  One  receives  the  distinct  impression, 
for  example,  that  a  man  like  Meyer  Josephson  simply  enjoyed 
Yiddish  and  used  it  when  his  correspondent  also  was  familiar 
with  it.  Similarly,  Mordecai  Moses  Mordecai,  quite  outspoken, 
seems  to  let  his  thoughts  flow  more  naturally  in  this  idiom. 
Furthermore,  where  a  letter  is  addressed  to  someone  abroad, 
Yiddish  may  be  expected  as  the  only  language  of  communica- 
tion. For  a  note  such  as  that  of  Lovi  Lyons  to  the  Parnassim 
of  Mikveh  Israel  Congregation  in  Philadelphia,  the  writer  may 
well  have  felt  that  Yiddish  was  the  proper  "Jewish59  idiom  in 
preference  to  English.  Again,  the  set  of  congregational  rules 
would  traditionally  be  in  Yiddish,  though  it  is  conceivable  that 
there  existed  also  an  English  draft  of  the  same  text. 

One  factor  that  is  certain  to  have  suggested  the  choice  of 
Yiddish  is  the  confidential  nature  of  some  communications.  At  a 
time  when  letters  were  forwarded  "per  favor  of  coachmen, 
captains,  and  travelers  who  sometimes  might  be  expected  to  be 
less  than  scrupulous,  and  might  while  away  a  long  evening  by 
perusing  the  correspondence  entrusted  to  them  and  possibly 
extracting  profitable  or  juicy  information,  it  was  important  to 
keep  certain  matters  from  their  prying  eyes.  Perhaps  Aaron 
Levy's  draft  of  an  agreement  (No.  33)  was  written  in  Hebrew 
characters  for  such  a  reason,  although  he  frequently  writes 
English  in  Hebrew  characters.  The  element  of  secrecy  is  most 
pronounced  in  the  Yiddish  words  or  paragraphs  which  we  find 
as  part  of  English  correspondence,  some  samples  of  which  are 
also  included  in  the  listing  below. 

An  example  is  the  following  Yiddish  passage  in  a  long  English 
business  letter  (No.  60):  "I  bought  from  him  all  wampum  and 
other  merchandise  which  I  expect  to  sell  here  to  Congress 

1 08 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

together  with  the  merchandise  of  Mr.  Trent  which  you  have 
there  on  hand  and  what  is  still  in  Maryland,  whereby  I  hope 
we  will  make  a  good  profit  as  no  other  is  available  in  this 
country  .  .  .,"  and  later  in  the  same  letter:  "So  you  will  set  all 
the  prices  at  250  or  300  percent."  The  convenience  of  Yiddish 
for  conveying  confidential  information  is  even  more  pointedly 
demonstrated  by  the  following  (No.  70):  "I  hope  to  settle  with 
Mr.  Claibern  in  a  few  days,  as  he  is  to  be  here  next  week.  How- 
ever, I  shall  not  wait  until  he  comes  here,  I  shall  go  to  his  home,  and  ij 
he  is  not  there  I  shall  go  wherever  he  is  .  .  ."  The  first  sentence  here 
was  in  English  in  the  original  text;  the  italicized  words  were 
originally  in  Yiddish. 

Aside  from  the  purpose  of  secrecy,  there  is  also  the  convenience 
of  Yiddish  (or  Hebrew)  in  spelling  the  names  of  old-country 
people  who  were  not  ordinarily  known  by  names  current  in 
English-speaking  countries.  A  letter  such  as  No.  43  demonstrates 
this  fact  in  that  Barnard  Gratz  consistently  renders  into  English 
the  names  of  people  living  in  England  or  America,  and  uses 
Yiddish  or  Hebrew  for  the  names  of  those  living  on  the  European 
continent. 

Almost  all  the  English  letters  with  Yiddish  insertions  perused 
so  far  are  from  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  or  vice  versa. 
It  is  quite  revealing  of  the  Gratz  brothers'  level  of  Hebrew 
knowledge  that  they  repeatedly  use  biblical  or  talmudic  quota- 
tions appropriate  to  the  subject  discussed,  as,  for  example. 
Psalm  55:23  in  No.  50,  Psalm  32:10  in  No.  51,  and  Talmud 
Berakot  Gob  in  No.  52.  Their  Hebrew  spelling  in  general  is 
almost  flawless,  indicating  that  they  received  a  thorough 
grounding  in  the  language  of  their  youth  and  retained  it 
throughout  their  later  years. 

The  following  analyses  of  the  Yiddish  letters  (Nos.  1—42)  and 
the  subsequent  list  of  English  letters  containing  some  Yiddish 
(Nos.  43-84),  in  the  Henry  Joseph  Collection  at  the  American 

TOO 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

Jewish  Archives,  comprise  only  the  papers  studied  so  far,  and 
represent  approximately  one  third  to  one  half  of  this  type  of 
material  contained  in  the  Collection. 

[The  compiler's  notes,  concerning  each  Tiddish  letter,  are  bracketed  and 
printed  in  smaller  type,  following  the  content  analysis  of  each  letter.] 

ANALYSES  OF  YIDDISH  LETTERS 

1,  Barnard  Gratz  to  his  brother  Hayim 

Philadelphia,  28  lyar,  5515  (May  9,  1755). 

Barnard  Gratz  has  been  in  Philadelphia  for  a  year  with  a  great 
merchant,  the  same  for  whom  his  relative  Koppel  had  worked.  Barnard 
has  acquired  a  partner  now  and  also  intends  to  open  his  own  shop. 
He  has  heard  that  brother  Michael  left  for  the  East  Indies  with  a 
"good  boss,"  who  will  teach  him  the  business. 

[Barnard  arrived  in  Philadelphia  in  February,  1754,  and  was  employed  by  David 
Franks,  referred  to  above  as  the  "great  merchant."  Koppel  is  Jacob  Henry,  Bar- 
nard's cousin,  who  had  previously  worked  for  Franks.  Michael  Grate's  East  Indies 
excursion  ended  after  three  and  a  half  years,  as  he  returned  to  London  late  in 
1758  or  early  in  1759.  Barnard  did  not  become  commercially  independent  until 
*759-  (See  Wolf  and  Whiternan,  pp.  36  ff.)  Other  names  mentioned:  Solomon 
(Solomon  Henry);  Liebcrman — both  are  relatives  in  London;  Jonathan,  Bar- 
nard's brother.] 

2.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz 

Philadelphia,  June  28,  1 759. 

Barnard  welcomes  Michael  to  New  York  and  gives  him  directions  for 
coming  to  Philadelphia.  If  Michael  needs  money,  he  should  ask  Jacob 
Franks  for  it. 

[Other  names  mentioned:  Samuel  Judah;  David  Franks,] 

On  the  same  page: 

Jacob  Bluch  to  Michael  Gratz 

Jacob  Bluch  greets  Michael  on  the  latter's  arrival. 

[Jacob  Bluch  is  probably  to  be  identified  with  Jacob  Henry,  the  "Koppel" 
mentioned  in  No.  i.  The  names  Henry  and  Bluch  both  appear  in  that  branch  of 

ItO 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

the  family,  as  evidenced  by  the  power  of  attorney  issued  in  connection  with  th« 
estate  of  Joseph  Henry  Bluch  (No.  34),  who  was  known  in  America  also  as  Joseph 
Henry.  (See  Wolf  and  Whiteman,  p.  182  and  notes.)] 

3.  Meyer  Josephson  to  Michael  Gratz 

Reading  [Pa.],  17  Tebet,  5520  (January  6,  1760). 

A  business  letter.  In  a  postscript  Josephson  asks  Gratz  to  send  him  the 
velvet  cloak  which  he  intended  for  his  bride  and  had  left  with  Gratz, 

[The  first  evidence  of  Meyer  Josephson's  marriage  appears  in  1762.  (See  Wolf  and 
Whiteman,  p.  392;  Neumann,  "Letters,"  in  PAJHS,  XXXIV,  77.)  At  the  time  oi 
the  writing  of  this  letter  he  was  apparently  engaged.] 

4.  Mordecai  Moses  Mordecai  to  Michael  Gratz 

Lancaster  [Pa.],  May  4,  1761. 

Mordecai  expects  to  be  a  father  in  seven  months.  Mr.  Josephson  writes 
that  he  followed  this  example,  too.  Mordecai  gives  this  graphic  descrip- 
tion of  his  wife's  condition:  "My  wife  sends  a  thousand  regards  and 
asks  you  to  forgive  her,  because  she  cannot  write  herself  as  she  is, 
unfortunately,  not  well.  She  vomits  in  the  morning  and  eats  no  meat 
or  fowl  at  all.  Alas,  she  is  getting  very  thin,  but  I  hope  she  will  fill  out 
elsewhere." 

5.  Mordecai  Moses  Mordecai  to  Barnard  and  Michael  Gratz 

Lancaster,  Hoshanw  Rabba,  1761  (October  19,  1761). 

The  letter  contains  references  to  some  business  dealings  with  various 
people.  Any  suspicions  about  Clara  are  unfounded,  "Mr,  Simon  told 
me  that  everything  Ettings  said  is  a  lie,  and  that  she  would  be  a  good 
match  for  him,  and  an  advantage  to  his  creditors." 

[It  is  not  clear  who  Clara  is  and  for  whom  she  is  intended.  Other  names  mentioned: 
Meyer  Hart;  Isaac  Adolphus;  Mr.  Bush;  Berchc  (Bcracha?);  Miss  Abigail  Lazarc; 
Meyer  Zupbeiler  (?),] 

6.  Meyer  Josephson  to  Michael  Gratz 

Reading,  6  Elul,  5522  (August  25,  1762). 

A  business  letter.  In  a  postscript  Josephson  asks  Gratz  to  order  kosher 
cheese  for  him  from  London. 

in 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

7.  Meyer  Josephson  to  Michael  Gratz 

i  Tammuz,  5524  (July  i,  1764). 

Josephson  regrets  to  inform  Gratz  that  Joseph  ben  Benjamin  died 
yesterday.  He  asks  Gratz  to  write  to  New  York  for  a  trustworthy  man 
who  is  also  a  shohet  [ritual  slaughterer] .  Josephson  is  willing  to  pay 
£20  per  year.  He  would  also  consider  Haim  Myers,  who  had  served 
someone  else  as  shohet. 

[This  letter  lacks  the  usual  flowery  salutation,  evidently  because  —  as  the  general 
tone  of  the  letter  indicates  — Josephson  was  too  much  upset  by  his  employee's 
death.] 

8.  Meyer  Josephson  to  Barnard  and  Michael  Gratz 

Reading,  ir  Marheshvan,  5525  (November  6,  1764). 

Josephson  is  sending  the  Gratzes  one  quarter  of  a  deer  that  he  slaugh- 
tered that  morning.  They  may  share  it  with  Mr.  Bush.  "If  you  were 
to  consume  it  together,  make  a  meal  of  it  and  drink  a  glass  of  good 
wine  with  it,  and  were  also  to  parade  my  health  on  the  table,  I  would 
be  very  pleased."  He  asks  them  not  to  tell  others  of  the  deer,  as  he 
fears  they  would  be  offended. 

The  remainder  of  the  letter  is  taken  up  with  business. 

9.  Meyer  Josephson  to  Barnard  and  Michael  Gratz 

"The  day  after  the  Holiday,  5528"  [October  17,  1767,  or  April  10, 

1768,  or  May  24,  1768]. 

This  is  a  business  letter  referring  to  dealings  with  Nachman  and  with 
John  Patton(P). 

[Josephson  seems  to  be  pressed  for  money,  as  he  writes:  "...  because  I  would  like 
to  close  his  account,  and  it  also  would  be  good  for  Sabbath  expenses."  For  Nachman 
ben  Moses,  see  No.  22  and  also  Neumann,  "Letters,"  in  PAJHS,  XXXIV,  78,  95- 
96.  The  three  dates  suggested  above  are  computed  on  the  possibility  that  the 
"Holiday"  was  either  Sukkot,  Passover,  or  Shabuot,  5528.] 

10.  Abraham  ben  Moses  to  Meyer  .  .  . 

The  evening  of  Sabbath  Bereshith,  5528  (October  17,  1767). 

Abraham  complains  that  a  writ  has  been  issued  for  his  debts.  He 
considers  himself  trustworthy  enough  to  pay  without  the  writ. 

112 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

1 1 .  Henry  Marks  to  brother  Zanvil 

Philadelphia,  i  Heshvan,  5529  (October  12,  1768 

Henry  requests  his  brother  to  advise  him  of  the  exact  date  of  t 
mother's  death.  He  has  not  seen  or  heard  from  Zanvil  in  twenty- 
years  and  asks  him  to  write.  Zanvil  should  also  take  care  of  t 
sister  Leah  and  find  her  a  good  husband. 

[The  death  of  Henry  Marks's  mother  is  mentioned  also  in  an  English  letter 
Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  dated  London,  August  10,  1769.  The  date  o 
death  is  given  there  as  Sivan,  1769.  A  possible  explanation  for  the  discrepant 
the  dates  lies  in  the  fact  that  Henry  Marks  may  have  made  a  mistake  in  the  He 
year,  writing  only  one  month  after  the  New  Year.  The  proper  date  then  wou] 
553O  —  November  I,  1769.  Other  names  mentioned:  Jonathan;  Solomon  Hen 
London.] 

12.  Leizer  ben  Leib  to  Michael  Gratz 

Lancaster,  3  Ab,  5529  (August  6,  1769 

Leizer  writes  that  he  and  Barnard  Jacobs  are  carefully  examining 
Torah  scroll  with  the  aid  of  the  very  best  European  tikkunS  jo/ 
[the  plural  form  of  tihkun  sqferim,  the  model  which  the  scribe,  or  s 
uses  in  copying  the  Torah] ,  and  have  already  found  five  words  miss 
God  knows  how  many  more  they  will  find.  Leizer  asks  Gratz  to  rr 
apologies  on  his  behalf  for  his  failure  to  write  to  Gratz's  "dearest  01 
She  knows  that  he  cannot  write  English.  He  also  wishes  Gratz 
merry  Tisha  b'Ab"  (fast  of  the  ninth  day  of  Ab). 

[The  wish  for  a  "merry  Tisha  b'AB"  is  curious,  as  that  day  is,  in  the  Jewish  tradi 
one  of  fasting  and  mourning,  commemorating  the  destruction  of  the  Temp] 
Jerusalem  in  the  year  70  G.  E.  Among  some  mystics,  however,  Tisha  b'Ab  is  < 
brated  as  a  rather  joyous  day,  despite  the  fasting,  because  it  is  to  be  the  birtl 
of  the  Messiah.  The  writer  of  the  letter  may  have  been  an  adherent  of  the  m 
doctrines  currently  prevalent  in  Eastern  Europe. 

In  a  letter  sent  by  Barnard  Gratz  from  London  on  October  31,  1769,  tc 
brother  Michael,  and  in  other  letters,  mention  is  made  of  a  Torah  scroll  w 
Barnard  had  been  asked  to  purchase  in  London.  This  would  indicate  that 
scroll  being  examined  by  Leizer  either  was  borrowed,  ultimately  to  be  returne 
its  owner,  or  that  it  was  in  such  bad  shape  that  it  was  beyond  repair.  It  should 
be  noted  that  the  Distillery  List  (No.  36)  contains  an  item  of  parchment  fox 
scroll. 

Leizer  ben  Leib,  also  Leizer  ben  Leib  Uri  (No.  15),  is  probably  identical 
Eleazar  Lyons  (1729—1816),  a  Dutch  Jew  who  died  in  Philadelphia.  Other  ns 
mentioned;  Mr.   (Mathias)  Bush;  Miss  Bella;  Mrs.  Bush;  Mr.  Solomon; 
Marks;  Levi  Solomon;  Henry  Marks.] 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

1 3 .  Henry  Marks  to  Jonathan  [last  name  unknown] 

Philadelphia,  November  7,  1769. 

Jonathan  is  requested  to  hold,  as  a  dowry  for  Henry's  sister  Leah,  the 
money  which  Jonathan's  brother  Solomon  sent  him.  He  is  also  to 
retain  the  six  guineas  which  Barnard  sent  on  Henry's  brother  Lipman's 
order. 

Lipman  is  otherwise  known  as  Levi  Marks. 

[Other  names  mentioned:  Jonathan  Gratz;  Frumat  (the  writer's  relative);  Feivel 
and  family.] 

14.  Joseph  Simon  to  Michael  Gratz 

Lancaster,  30  Tishri,  5531  (October  19,  1770). 

Simon  has  received  Mrs.  Mordecai's  letter  from  Baltimore  and  has 
strictly  examined  the  maid.  He  has  also  had  her  before  the  justice. 
Apparently  she  is  completely  innocent.  The  accusations  were  made 
probably  because  Mrs.  Mordecai  could  not  get  along  with  her  and 
even  came  to  blows  with  her. 

[This  letter  is  signed  Joseph  Simon,  but  both  the  text  and  the  signature  are  in  the 
handwriting  of  Leizer  ben  Leib,  who  apparently  served  as  Simon's  secretary. 
Leizer  adds  a  postscript  of  his  own  in  which  he  sends  regards  to  Miss  Relah  (Rachel 
Simon?),  Miss  Beila.] 

15.  Leizer  ben  Leib  Uri  to  Isaac  Wolf 

Lancaster,  8  Ab,  5532  (August  7,  1772). 

A  short  business  letter.  "One  starts  small,  and  by  degrees  one  goes 
higher." 

[Reference  is  made  to  Michael  Hart  as  a  "stutterer."  See  J,  Trachtenberg,  Consider 
the  Tears,  p.  76.] 

A  series  of  letters  written  consecutively  on  two  pages;  each  is  marked 
"true  copy,"  All  are  in  Yiddish  and  undated,  except  No.  16. 

1 6.  Joseph  Simon  to  Elietzer  Lyon  (in  English) 

November  n,  1773. 

An  order  to  seize  the  goods  and  chattels  of  Benjamin  Nathan  for  unpaid 
rent  in  Heidelberg  [Pa.] . 

114 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

1 7.  Barnard  Jacobs  to  Benjamin  Nathan 

Undated. 

Mr.  Simon  wants  to  take  an  inventory  of  Nathan's  merchandise,  and 
Nathan  is  requested  to  come  immediately  and  bring  the  keys  of  shop 
and  trunks. 

1 8.  Joseph  Simon  to  Benjamin  Nathan 

Undated, 

Simon  did  not  find  the  large  silver  spoon,  teaspoons,  cream  jug,  the 
large  bed  quilt,  and  many  other  things.  He  is  sending  Nathan  a  tallith 
[prayer  shawl],  tefillin  [phylacteries],  prayer  book,  shehitah  [ritual 
animal-slaughtering]  knife,  and  grindstone,  so  that  Nathan  can  be  a 
good  Jew,  but  Simon  is  keeping  the  rest  of  the  books  as  security  for 
the  charity  money. 


19- 

Unsigned,  undated. 

The  writer  was  without  tefillin  for  fifteen  days  as  the  sheriff  had 
packed  everything  away.  He  has  neither  pot,  nor  spoon,  nor  bed. 

20.  Joseph  Simon  to  Benjamin  Nathan. 

Undated. 

Simon  has  ascertained  that  all  the  bad  things  said  about  Nathan  are 
true.  Nathan  refuses  to  give  his  books  to  Barnard  (Jacobs).  Simon  will 
sell  Nathan's  and  Nathan's  wife's  clothes.  Nathan  is  to  answer  within 
a  half  hour  or  the  bed  will  be  sold. 

2 1 .  Tobias  ...  to  Barnard  and  Michael  Gratz 

Rhode  Island,  5  Kislev,  5534  (November  20,  1773). 

The  writer  thanks  the  Gratzes  for  their  letters  of  recommendation.  He 
was  asked  to  preach  in  the  synagogue  because  of  them.  He  will  write 
from  all  the  places  which  he  visits. 

[This  is  Rabbi  Tobiah  ben  Judah,  a  Polish  rabbi  and  cabalist,  who  visited  the 
mainland  colonies  and  the  West  Indies  in  1773.  See  F.  B.  Dexter,  The  Literary  Diary 
of  Ezra  Stiles,  I,  421-^23;  II,  174;  III,  78;  S.  Broches,  Jews  in  New  England,  II> 
38-39.] 

"5 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

22.  Nachman  ben  Moses  to  Michael  Gratz 

Berne  [Pa.],  February  26,  1779. 

The  children  of  Meyer  Josephson  are  with  Mrs.  Josephson  at  Chestnut 
Hill,  Pa.  Perhaps  Michael  can  persuade  her  to  part  with  the  children, 
so  that  he  can  get  them  out  of  Gentile  hands  and  among  Jews. 

[This  letter  shows  that  Meyer  Josephson's  second  wife  was  a  Gentile  woman.  His 
first  wife,  whom  he  married  no  later  than  1762  (see  No.  3),  was  definitely  Jewish, 
and  her  children  too  old  by  1779  to  be  referred  to  in  the  above  manner.  So  far,  no 
trace  has  been  found  of  this  second  marriage  in  other  sources.] 

23.  Henry  Marks  to  Barnard  Gratz 

New  York,  April  28,  1 786. 

Marks  complains  about  his  business  difficulties  and  also  about  his 
children.  He  hopes  that  his  son  Solomon  will  behave  better. 

[Solomon  Marks,  1766-1824,  was,  in  later  life,  a  Richmond  merchant.  Another 
name  mentioned:  Mrs.  Wister,  with  whom  Marks  had  some  business  dispute.] 

24.  Henry  Marks  to  Barnard  Gratz 

May  1 6,  1786. 

Marks  hopes  to  do  some  business  in  Irish  Town.  He  cannot  earn 
anything.  He  has  heard  that  his  son  Solomon  was  sick  in  Easton.  He 
asks  Gratz  to  do  for  him  what  he  can. 

He  has  heard  a  rumor  that  David  Franks  is  in  the  King's  Bench  for 
debts. 

[Other  names  mentioned:  Rachel  Marks  and  Haim  Marks,  Henry  Marks's  children; 
Mrs.  Wister.] 

25.  Henry  Marks  to  Barnard  Gratz 

New  York,  8  Marheshvan,  5547  (October  30,  1786). 

Marks  was  sick  in  Rhode  Island  and  has  been  unable  to  do  any  busi- 
ness. He  asks  Gratz  to  find  a  job  for  his  son  Haim. 

[Other  names  mentioned:  Mrs.  Wister;  Wes  Fulton  (?)  of  Virginia.] 

26.  Benjamin  ben  Wolf  of  London  to  Michael  Gratz 

Lancaster  [Pa.],  12  Adar,  5547  (March  2,  1787), 

The  writer  requests  a  personal  appointment. 
116 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

27.  Heiman  Heilbron  to  Mr.  Phillips 

New  York,  November  25,  1  787. 

The  writer  requests  that  some  papers  be  transmitted  to  Moses  Hom- 
berg,  who  will  send  them  on  to  Holland.  Heilbron  states  that  he  is 
related  to  Homberg, 

28.  Aaron  Levy  to  Michael  Gratz. 

Northumberland  [Pa.],  May  n,  1788. 

Levy  writes  that  Mr.  Simon  is  here  and  will  not  return  home  until  the 
end  of  next  week.  He  asks  Gratz  to  advise  his  family  and  to  inform 
Barnard  Jacobs  that  if  Levy's  brother  should  come  to  board  with  him, 
Levy  will  not  pay  one  penny  for  him. 

[This  letter  mentions  a  brother  of  Aaron  Levy,  not  otherwise  known,  with  whom 
Levy  apparently  was  not  on  very  good  terms.  Levy's  Hebrew  spelling  in  this  letter 
is  very  poor;  e.  g.,  nai"m  raNirfr  for  WN  »ain«V;  j'p^N  for  p  hy.  His  Yiddish  spelling 
also  is  unusual  for  the  time,  particularly  in  the  use  of  n  for  the  almost  universally 
used  D.  There  are  certain  idiomatic  expressions  which  seem  to  indicate  that  Levy 
either  grew  up  in  Germany  or  spent  enough  time  there  to  become  accustomed  to 
the  German  idiom.  Examples  are  a«n  JOtnEW  is  "j'N  Nil  Try^a  H,  "The  glasses  that 
I  promised";  1«3  p«  03N3,  "completely."  This,  however,  is  not  conclusive. 

Other  names  mentioned:  Mr.  Hosterman;  Hugh  Ogden,  umbrella  maker  in 
Sourkraut  Alley.] 

29.  Suesskind  ben  Kosmann  Hollander  to  the  Parnassim  of  Phila- 
delphia 

[The]  Hague,  Holland,  5  Tammuz,  5549  (June  129,  1789). 

Suesskind's  father,  Kosmann  Hollander,  was  in  the  West  Indies  and 
has  not  been  heard  from  for  twelve  years.  He  asks  the  parnassim  to 
inform  him,  if  they  can,  whether  his  father  is  alive  or  dead,  and 
whether  he  left  any  money. 

[The  letter  is  addressed  to  "Phidelphi  in  the  West  Inies."  The  outside  address  is 
written  in  the  symmetrical  order  common  to  many  seventeenth-  and  eighteenth- 
century  letters: 


p'pi 


117 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

30.  Mordecai  Moses  Mordecai  to  Michael  Gratz 

Baltimore,  June  13,  1790. 

Mordecai  recommends  a  certain  Meir  ben  Koppel  (Jacob)  who  has 
been  working  near  Baltimore  for  years  and  is  a  worthy  man.  He  is  on 
the  way  to  New  York  in  order  to  bring  his  wife  and  daughters  into  a 
Jewish  environment.  Mordecai  asks  Gratz  to  see  to  it  that  Meir  is 
helped  along.  "I  have  done  what  was  my  duty." 

Also,  as  Mordecai  intends  to  open  a  store,  he  asks  Gratz  to  persuade 
brother-in-law  Myer  to  help  him  out.  Not  much  money  will  be 
required. 

[The  Meir  ben  Koppel  mentioned  obviously  had  a  Gentile  wife.  Mordecai's  "duty" 
seems  to  have  been  to  convert  her  and  her  daughters.  He  is  known  to  have  per- 
formed such  acts  on  his  own.  (See  Wolf  and  Whiteman,  pp.  128  flf.)  Myer  is  Myer 
Hart.  (See  Wolf  and  Whiteman,  p.  417.).] 

31.  Cohen  and  Isaacs  to  Mr.  Gratz 

Richmond,  November  25,  1791. 

A  business  letter  dealing  with  the  settlement  of  some  bills.  The  signa- 
ture is  in  English. 

[Cohen  and  Isaacs  was  a  partnership  of  Jacob  I.  Cohen  and  Isaiah  Isaacs.  (See 
Marcus,  Early  American  Jewry,  II,  182  ff.).] 

32.  Yehiel  ben  Naphtali  of  Werdorf  (?)  to  Barnard  Gratz 


Since  a  Gentile  wants  to  buy  the  "nigger  wench,"  Gratz  is  requested 
to  send  her  with  Sarah,  NichePs  (?)  wife,  and  to  send  along  the 
certificate, 

[Barnard  Gratz  is  here  addressed  as  tt'inya  (Barnet),  rather  than  the  usual  "lyn  (Baer) 
or  "Dew  (Issachar).  Mention  is  made  of  Solomon  Lyon  (Lyons).] 

33.  A  draft  of  an  agreement,  dated  January,  1793,  for  Robert  Morris 
and  Walter  Stewart  to  buy  some  lands  from  Aaron  Levy. 

It  is  in  English,  written  in  Levy's  handwriting  in  cursive  Hebrew  , 
characters.  The  style  is  at  times  somewhat  elliptic:  ".  .  .which  they 
agree  to  take  out  warrants  and  pay  for  the  same  .  .  .  ." 

Among  other  peculiarities,  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  Levy  often 

118 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 


uses  the  Hebrew  s  for  the  English  s:  v}hyx  »"B  for  "myself."  The 
same  is  true  about  No.  37. 

[For  similar  agreements  between  Levy,  Morris,  and  Stewart,  in  English  script, 
see  Sidney  M.  Fish,  Aaron  Levy,  pp.  72  ff.] 

34.  Jonas  Hirschel  Bluch  to  Barnard  and  Michael  Gratz 

Langendorf  [Silesia],  April  6,  1796. 

Bluch  is  sending  to  the  Gratzes  a  copy  of  the  power  of  attorney  to  sell 
the  land  of  his  late  son  Joseph  Henry.  He  asks  the  Gratzes  to  send  him 
the  money  when  they  have  sold  the  land. 

As  Bluch  does  not  know  whether  his  last  letter  reached  the  Gratzes, 
he  is  sending  a  copy  of  it. 

[The  copy  contains  the  statement  that  the  Gratz  brothers  notified  Bluch  on  Novem- 
ber I,  1795,  of  the  death  of  his  son.  According  to  the  official  statement  enclosed,  the 
death  occurred  on  May  10,  1793.  Note  the  delay! 

There  is  appended  a  German  copy  of  a  power  of  attorney,  authorizing  the 
Gratz  brothers  to  dispose  of  the  lands  of  Joseph  Henry  Bluch  in  the  vicinity  of 
Winchester,  Va.  There  are  additional  Bluch  papers  in  the  American  Jewish 
Archives.] 

35.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Isaac  .  .  . 

Undated. 

Gratz  recalls  the  favors  which  he  had  from  Isaac  when  he  was  in 
Amsterdam.  He  has  now  been  in  Philadelphia  for  nine  years  and  in 
business  for  two  years. 

He  expects  to  go  to  Amsterdam,  and  inquires  about  business  con- 
ditions, etc. 

[Barnard  Gratz  arrived  in  Philadelphia  in  January,  1754  (see  Wolf  and  White- 
man,  p.  36),  which  would  date  this  letter  in  late  1762  or  early  1763.  According  to 
Wolf  and  Whiteman  (p.  40),  he  opened  his  own  business  in  1759.  The  two  years 
mentioned  in  this  letter  would  thus  be  a  very  general  approximation.  It  is  possible, 
however,  that  Barnard  here  is  referring  to  a  later  and  more  specialized  phase. 
(See  above,  No.  i.)J 

36.  A  list  of  materials  and  supplies  to  be  bought  for  a  "Distill  House'* 
in  Philadelphia.  Listed  are  such  items  as  tubs,  barrels,  cedar  boards, 
sail  cloth,  etc.,  and  a  number  of  different  spices. 

There  is  appended  a  note  in  English,  signed  by  Joseph  Solomon, 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

asking  the  unnamed  addressee  to  deliver  a  message  to  Mr.  [Mathias] 
Bush. 

[The  date  of  this  document  may  be  about  the  year  1765,  as  there  is  extant  in  the 
McAllister  Collection  at  The  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia  another  letter  of 
similar  content  dated  1765.  Mr.  Bush  may  be  assumed  to  be  Mathias  Bush,  the 
only  person  by  that  name  known  at  that  time.  His  sons  were  not  then  old  enough  to 
have  a  message  addressed  to  them.  Joseph  Solomon  was  a  shohet  in  Lancaster  in 
the  employ  of  Joseph  Simon.  See  also  the  note  to  No.  12.] 

37.  An  undated  note  by  Aaron  Levy  in  English,  written  in  cursive 
Hebrew  characters: 

"Memorandum  of  stores  sent  by  Jacob  Anderson  to  the  Big  Island.55 
"David  [AJllison  Martins  Lake  is  about  a  mine  (a  mile?)  Western  of 

said  Allison,  the  south  west  corner  is  a  small  oak  or  sapling.  Inquire 

of  Allison  for  Daniel  Sanderlin  (?).  Inquire  for  Michael  Miniver,  ask 

for  the  white  oak  corner.'5 

On  the  reverse  side,  in  English,  is  a  list  of  items  taken  from  David 

Hannah. 

38.  Lovi  Lyons  to  the  Parnassim  of  Philadelphia. 

Undated. 

Lyons  asks  to  be  excused  from  being  called  as  Hatan  Bereshith  ["Bride- 
groom of  Genesis,"  the  person  given  the  honor  of  beginning  the  annual 
cycle  of  the  Pentateuchal  readings  in  the  synagogue]  this  year,  because 
he  may  be  out  of  town. 

[The  signature  appears  in  Hebrew  as  Yehudah  Leib'n  ben  Seligman,  and  in  English 
as  Lovi  Lyons.  The  writer  must  have  been  a  person  of  some  prominence  to  be 
given  the  honor  of  Hatan  Bereshith. 

A.  J.  Lyons  appears  in  the  records  of  Mikveh  Israel  Congregation  in  1783.] 

39.  Meir  to  his  father  Hirsch  and  his  mother  Sarah. 

Undated. 

A  short  note  telling  his  parents  that  he  is  busy  with  his  studies.  It  is 
the  work  of  a  child. 

40.  Rachel  bas  Seligman  to  Barnard  Gratz. 

Undated. 

Rachel  asks  Gratz  to  come  to  her  house  on  the  morrow  because  "he" 
120 


HENRY  JOSEPH  COLLECTION  OF  GRATZ  FAMILY  PAPERS 

is  lying  in  a  drunken  stupor.  He  has  brought  the  Irish  woman  back 
into  the  house. 

["He"  is  referred  to  as  a  relative  of  the  writer.  Neither  can  be  further  identified. 
This  is  an  uncommon  example  of  a  Yiddish  letter  in  cursive  script  written  by  a 
woman.  It  is  very  literate,  both  in  style  and  in  orthography.] 

41.  Barnard  Jacobs  to  Barnard  Gratz. 

Undated. 

This  letter  was  written  in  jail  and  concerns  a  business  dispute  with 
Joseph  Simon  and  the  "German  thief  Jacob,"  who  is  not  further 
identified.  Jacobs,  in  this  three-page  letter,  asks  Gratz  to  send  him  the 
receipts  of  Enrich  (Heinrich?)  and  Wurm,  and  repeatedly  bemoans 
his  sad  fate  and  invokes  God's  help. 

[It  is  interesting  to  note  that  Jacobs  never  writes  the  initial  h  of  any  word,  e.  g., 
ab  for  hab)  elf  en  for  heljen,  except  hoffen,  "hope."  Also,  he  uses  a  large  number  of 
English  words,  such  as  riB'syi,  "receipt**;  itu,  "nor";  mx'a,  "sued";  rwyDwa, 
"summoned";  msiD,  "suffer";  B!?KD,  "fault";  hyv,  "jail";  and  many  more.  His 
spelling  of  Hebrew  words  is  very  poor;  e.  g.,  nynjP  for  ny'T,  3»3«3  for  3M,  Q^lN  for 
D^IJ?,  D'JNDmo  for  maom,  etc. 

Other  names  mentioned:  Mr,  Bush,  Mr.  Franks,  "Benjamin  Levy.] 

42.  A  draft  of  a  congregational  constitution.  It  is  presumably  that  of 
Mikveh  Israel  Congregation  in  Philadelphia,  and  defines  the  manner 
of  election  and  the  duties  of  the  Governing  Board  of  Five  (Junta?),  the 
Parnass,  their  qualifications  and  duties,  and  the  rights  of  members  and 
non-members. 

[The  congregation  resolved  to  draw  up  a  constitution  in  1782.  This  may  be  one  of 
the  drafts  of  that  year.] 


ENGLISH  LETTERS  WITH  YIDDISH  INSERTIONS 

43.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  August  10,  1769 

44.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  September  7,  1 769 

45.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  October  31,  1769 

46.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  November  16,  1769 

47.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  December  6,  1769 

48.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  January  12,  1770 

49.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  March  19,  1770 

121 


M.  ARTHUR  OLES 

50.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  May  17,  1770 

51.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  June  26,  1770 

52.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  July  20,  1770 

53.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  London,  August  24,  1770 

54.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Lancaster,  January  13,  1772 

55.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Carlisle,  December  3,  1772 

56.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  New  York,  April  u,  1774 

57.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  January  10,  1775 

58.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Pittsburgh,  November  14,  1775 

59.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Pittsburgh,  November  15,  1775 

60.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  January  21,  1776 

61.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  January  28,  1776 

62.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Lancaster,  April  9,  1776 

63.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  April  12,  1776 

64.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  May  16,  1776 

65.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Lancaster,  May  31,  1778 

66.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  July  27,  1778 

67.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  January  20,  1779 

68.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Williamsburg,  March  3,  1 780 

69.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Petersburg,  April  17,  1780 

70.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  June  27,  1780 

71.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  July  5,  1780 

72.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  July  18,  1781 

73.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  December  18,  1785 

74.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  January  30,  1 786 

75.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  February  6,  1786 

76.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  February  20,  1786 

77.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Richmond,  March  14,  1786 

78.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  Lancaster,  November  23,  1787 

79.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Cooperstown  [N,  Y.],  Septenv 

ber  19,  1792 

80.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  New  York  [month  not  given], 

'3>  '793 

81.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  Philadelphia,  June  28,  1794 

82.  Michael  Gratz  to  Barnard  Gratz,  undated 

83.  Joseph  Simon  to  Michael  Gratz,  undated 

84.  Barnard  Gratz  to  Michael  Gratz,  undated 


122 


Hebrew  Grammar  and  Textbook  Writing 

in  Early  Nineteenth-Century  America 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 


THE  STATUS  OF  HEBREW  STUDIES  AT  THE  BEGINNING 
OF  THE  CENTURY 

JL/URiNG  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries 
Hebraic  scholarship  in  America  seems  to  have  been  on  a  fairly 
high  level.  It  was  the  exclusive  province  of  Christians.  The 
number  of  Jews  in  America  at  that  time  was  very  small,  and 
there  were  few,  if  any,  Hebrew  scholars  among  them.  Some 
members  of  the  New  England  Mather  family,  we  are  told,  were 
well-versed  in  Hebraic  sources  of  Jewish  literature,  biblical  as 
well  as  rabbinic  and  medieval,  and  some  are  even  reported  to 
have  had  a  fine  mastery  of  Hebrew  conversation. x  Similarly, 
Ezra  Stiles,  president  of  Yale  College,  "was  a  thorough  master 
of  the  Hebrew  language,  which  he  wrote  and  spoke  with 
fluency  and  clarity.  .  . ." a 

Dr.  William  Chomsky  is  Chairman  of  the  Faculty  at  Gratz  College  in  Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania. 

1  Cf.  D.  de  Sola  Pool,  "Hebrew  Learning  among  the  Puritans  of  New  England 
Prior  to  1700,"  Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society,  XX  (1911), 
55  f.  and  67  f.;  also  A.  I.  Katsh,  Hebrew  in  American  Higher  Education  (New  York, 
1941),  16,  n.  41. 

a  See  the  article  by  Charles  Seymour,  president  of  Yale  University,  published  in 
Hadoar,  XXI,  No.  12  (Jan.  17,  1941),  189.  Incidentally,  it  may  be  interesting  to 
note  that  Stiles  was  close  to  forty  years  old  when  he  began  to  study  Hebrew.  He 
served  then  as  minister  in  Newport,  R.  I.,  where  a  relatively  dynamic  Jewish 
community  was  then  flourishing.  One  of  Stiles's  intimate  friends  was  Isaac  Touro, 
who  had  studied  at  the  rabbinical  seminary  in  Amsterdam,  had  come  to  America 
in  1760,  and  was  made  minister  and  reader  of  the  Sephardic  synagogue,  Jeshuat 

123 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

An  entirely  different  picture  of  Hebraic  scholarship  in  Amer- 
ica during  the  early  nineteenth  century  is  depicted  by  Moses 
Stuart,  Professor  of  Sacred  Literature  in  the  Theological 
Seminary  at  Andover.  When  he  assumed  his  teaching  post  in 
Andover,  Mass.,  in  1810,  Stuart  testifies,  he  knew  hardly  more 
than  the  Hebrew  alphabet  and  could  scarcely  translate  the  first 
five  or  six  chapters  in  Genesis  and  a  few  psalms  with  the  aid  of 
Parkhurst's  dictionary.  According  to  Stuart,  there  was  hardly 
anybody  in  America  at  that  time  (1810)  —  unless  one  chanced 
to  study  Hebrew  abroad  —  who  possessed  the  requisite  knowl- 
edge for  instruction  in  Hebrew. 3  Even  if  we  assume,  with  George 
Foot  Moore,  that  this  is  an  exaggerated  statement,  and  that  it 
merely  depicts  conditions  in  New  England  and  not  those  in 
New  York  and  Pennsylvania,  it  must  be  admitted  that  the  status 
of  Hebrew  studies  during  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth 
century  was  not  on  a  very  high  level.  Witness  the  attempts, 
during  that  early  period,  at  the  preparation  of  Hebrew  chres- 
tomathies  and  grammars  for  the  study  of  Hebrew. 

TEACHING  VOWEL-LESS  HEBREW 

Among  the  earliest  Hebrew  chrestomathies  of  the  nineteenth 
century  is  one  by  John  Smith,  A.M.,  Professor  of  the  Learned 
Languages,  at  Dartmouth  College.  This  text  was  published  in 
1810  under  the  title,  A  Hebrew  Grammar  Without  Points:  Designed 
to  Facilitate  the  Study  of  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament,  in  the 
Original. 4 

Israel,  in  1763,  when  that  synagogue  was  opened.  Stiles  may  have  been  taught 
Hebrew,  or  have  been  helped  in  his  Hebraic  studies,  by  Touro. 

3  See  George  Foot  Moore,  &itschrift  fur  die  Alttestamcntliche  Wissenschaft,  VIII 
(1888),  18. 

*  Ibid.,  12;  Moore  refers  to  an  earlier  text  by  John  Smith,  under  the  same  title, 
published  in  1803. 

124 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

Smith's  text  was  rather  meagre  and  insignificant,  but  a  more 
pretentious  text,  entitled  An  Easy  Introduction  to  the  Knowledge 
oj  the  Hebrew  Language,  Without  the  Points,  by  James  P.  Wilson, 
D.D.,  pastor  of  the  First  Presbyterian  Church  in  Philadelphia, 
was  published  two  years  later.  In  the  introduction  to  this  text, 
where  he  discusses  the  alphabet,  the  author  rationalizes  the 
novel  approach  of  teaching  Hebrew  by  dispensing  with  vowels. 
Hebrew,  he  maintains,  is  a  dead  language.  The  present  vowels, 
he  argues,  do  not  record  the  original  pronunciation  of  ancient 
Hebrew.  The  study  of  the  vowels  is,  accordingly,  both  misleading 
and  an  unnecessary  encumbrance  for  the  student.  Why,  then, 
not  dispense  with  them  altogether? 

In  support  of  his  approach  he  adduces  the  fact  that  our 
pronunciation  of  biblical  names  differs  from  that  recorded  in  the 
Masoretic  text.  As  additional  evidence,  he  cites  the  fact  that  no 
vocalization  is  used  in  the  scrolls  read  in  the  synagogues.  He 
concludes,  therefore,  that  since  the  vowels  are  "a  late  invention, 
which  seems  to  be  the  fact,  we  might  with  equal  propriety  con- 
sider the  traditions  and  talmudical  writings  of  the  Jews  to  be  of 
divine  authority,  and  receive  for  doctrines  the  commandments 
of  men.'5 

In  consonance  with  this  theory,  the  author  first  presents  the 
alphabet  arranged  in  a  column.  Beside  each  letter  is  given  the 
name  of  the  letter,  as  well  as  its  value,  in  accordance  with 
different  schools  and  individual  grammarians.  This  is  followed 
by  selections  from  the  books  of  Genesis,  Psalms,  Isaiah,  and  Job. 
The  texts  are,  of  course,  devoid  of  vowel-points,  and  the  only 
vowel-indications  recognized  by  the  author  are  the  weak  letters 
r'^iriN,  which  were  adopted  as  vowel  letters,  in  their  old  Hebrew 
forms,  in  the  Greek  alphabet,  and  subsequently  in  the  alphabets 
of  other  Indo-European  languages. 

What  about  the  letters  neither  followed  by  any  of  these  vowel- 
indications  nor  placed  at  the  end  of  a  word?  How  are  they  to  be 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

sounded?  In  such  instances,  the  author  suggests,  "the  beginner 
is  advised  to  supply  as  he  is  reading,  a  short  vowel  of  any  kind, 
suppose  e,  after  every  consonant."  In  this  manner  the  language 

may  not  only  be  more  easily  and  uniformly  read,  and  sound  more 
agreeable  to  the  ear,  but  be  much  more  intelligible  to  the  hearer,  by 
distinguishing  the  numerous  prefixes  from  the  roots. 

Wilson's  text  is  divided  into  three  parts.  The  first  part  con- 
sists of  selections  from  Genesis  and  Isaiah,  translated  into  English. 
Each  Hebrew  word  is  annotated  and  parsed.  The  second  part 
consists  of  selected  chapters  from  Job,  likewise  supplied  with  an 
English  translation  and  notations  furnishing  the  roots  of  the 
words,  but  without  the  word-for-word  parsing.  The  third  part 
comprises  the  Hebrew  Grammar  of  John  Parkhurst,  to  which 
the  author  refers  in  his  parsing  of  the  words  in  the  first  part  of 
the  text,  and  in  which  he  claims  to  have  "made  as  few  altera- 
tions as  were  consistent  with  the  plan  adopted." 

Since  the  vowels,  except  those  indicated  by  vowel-letters,  are 
indistinguishable  from  one  another  in  the  author's  system,  he 
has  no  difficulty  in  "simplifying"  his  grammar.  The  pfel  and 
pu'al  conjugations  are  completely  discarded.  The  form  DBfn& 
(Gen.  1:2),  he  regards  as  hipffil,  while  isp  (ibid.  2:16),  nrjpjj 
(ibid.  2:23),  nanpBrn  (ibid.  3:7),  and  KingJ  (ibid.  3:10),  are  all 
regarded  as  forms  of  the  kaL  His  lexical  etymologies  are  likewise 
confused.  To  mention  only  a  few  of  them,  px,  "earth,"  is  a  noun 
compounded  of  K  formative  and  *p,  a  verb,  "to  break  to  pieces" 
(p.  10);  Mtf,  "seven,"  is  derived  from  Mfc,  "satisfy"  (p.  144); 
and  JT»a,  "house,"  stems  perhaps  from  W,  "a  hollow  vessel,"  and 
both  from  HI,  "a  hollow,"  or  rather  M,  the  same  (p.  145). 

The  whole  book  abounds  in  such  grammatical  and  etymolog- 
ical fallacies.  Stuart's  strictures  regarding  the  state  of  Hebraic 
studies  during  the  first  decade  of  the  nineteenth  century  seem 
hardly  exaggerated  in  the  light  of  Wilson's  performance.  Wil- 

126 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

son's  book  was,  after  all,  an  outstanding  Hebrew  text  during 
that  period,  and  the  author  boasts  in  the  Preface  that,  after 
"having  been  taught  originally  with  the  points,  I  am  self- 
taught  in  the  Hebrew  without  the  points." 

Incidentally,  the  practice  of  teaching  Hebrew  without  vowel- 
points  was  quite  in  vogue  among  Christian  students  of  Hebrew 
during  the  eighteenth,  and  probably  the  early  part  of  the  nine- 
teenth, century.  This  practice  was  the  outgrowth  of  the  contro- 
versy among  both  Jewish  and  Christian  scholars  as  to  the  antiq- 
uity and  divine  authority  of  the  vowel-signs.  The  controversy 
reached  its  high  watermark  in  the  sixteenth  century  between  the 
Jewish  scholars  Elijah  Levita  and  Azariah  dei  Rossi,  and  in  the 
seventeenth  century  between  the  Christian  scholars  John  Bux- 
torf  and  Louis  Capellus.  Capellus  accepted  Levita's  view, 
denying  early  antiquity  to  the  vowel-signs,  while  Buxtorf, 
relying  on  dei  Rossi's  arguments,  credited  the  vowel-signs  with 
antiquity  and  divine  authority. 

Even  as  late  as  1824,  Martin  Ruter,  D.D.,  published  a  text 
entitled,  An  Easy  Entrance  into  the  Sacred  Language;  being  a  Concise 
Hebrew  Grammar  Without  Points.  In  the  Preface  the  author  asserts 
dogmatically: 

That  the  points  and  accents  form  no  constituent  part  of  the  language, 
that  the  language  can  be  studied  successfully  without  them,  and  with 
more  ease  to  the  learner,  cannot  rationally  be  denied.  Some  of  the 
best  Hebrew  scholars  became  such  without  the  aid  of  the  points;  and 
some  who  studied  and  used  them  have  laid  them  aside,  preferring  the 
language  in  its  original  form. 

The  vowel-points  were,  according  to  this  author,  nothing 
more  than  a  sort  of  commentary  on  the  original  text  by  the 
"Mazorites"  (Masoretes).  "But  as  they  were  added  by  Jewish 
teachers,  without  divine  authority,  they  can  have  no  more 
weight  than  any  other  comment." 

Little  wonder,  therefore,  that  when  these  grammarians  at- 

127 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

tempted  to  transliterate  the  Hebrew  texts  of  the  Bible,  their 
readings  were  so  farfetched  and  wide  of  the  mark  as  to  be  hardly 
recognizable.  Moses  Stuart  was  undoubtedly  right  in  his  denun- 
ciation of  this  practice.  In  the  Introduction  to  his  Hebrew 
Grammar >  published  in  1821,  he  declared  that 

there  never  was,  and  it  may  be  doubted  whether  there  ever  will  be, 
a  thorough  Hebrew  scholar  who  is  ignorant  of  the  vowel-system.  The 
Hebrew  language,  destitute  of  vowels,  is  "without  form,"  and  is  but 
little  removed  from  being  "void"  and  having  chaotic  "darkness  upon 
it."  Seven  years'  experience  of  the  writer,  in  teaching  Hebrew  without 
the  vowel-points,  has  brought  him  fully  to  this  conclusion. 


THE  FIRST  HEBREW  TEXT  BY  AN  AMERICAN  JEW 

At  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  Jews  in  the 
United  States  constituted  a  small,  insignificant  minority.  In  the 
year  1 790,  out  of  a  total  population  of  less  than  four  million  in 
the  United  States,  the  Jewish  group  numbered  about  2,500, 
and,  according  to  some  authorities,  the  number  was  not  much 
more  than  some  1,500.  Most  of  the  Jews  lived  in  Philadelphia 
and  New  York,  while  a  good  many  were  completely  cut  off  from 
any  Jewish  contacts. 

Among  the  new  arrivals  at  the  beginning  of  the  century  was 
Emanuel  Nunes  Carvalho,  who  was  born  and  educated  in 
England  and  came  to  New  York  in  1806.  There  he  taught 
Hebrew  and  other  languages  privately,  and  was  later  (1808-1 1) 
engaged  as  teacher  in  the  Polonies  Talmud  Torah,  an  institution 
which  subsequently  became  part  of  the  public  school  system.  In 
1811,  he  went  to  Charleston,  S.  G.,  where,  in  addition  to  his 
official  duties  as  minister  of  Congregation  Beth  Elohim,  he 
taught  Hebrew  and  Spanish  in  the  school  of  ancient  and  modern 
languages  which  he  himself  established.  In  1814  he  assumed  the 
ministry  of  Mikveh  Israel  Congregation  in  Philadelphia,  where 

128 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 


he  published  a  Hebrew  text  (1815),  entitled  matf  pffV 
A  Key  to  the  Hebrew  Tongue  Containing  the  3"N  Alphabet  with  the 
Various  Vowel  Points:  accompanied  by  easy  lessons  of  one  and  more 
syllables,  with  the  English  translation  affixed  thereto,  so  that  the  learner 
may  understand  as  he  proceeds.  To  which  is  added  An  Introduction  to  the 
Hebrew  Grammar  with  points;  Intended  to  facilitate  the  scholar  in 
his  progress  to  the  attainment  of  the  primitive  languages. 

The  book  was  designed  by  Carvalho,  as  "professor  of  Hebrew 
and  Chaldee  languages,  ...  for  the  use  of  his  pupils.'9  He  was 
also  engaged,  according  to  Dr.  Bertram  W.  Korn,  s  in  completing 
a  Hebrew-English  dictionary  when  he  died  in  1817. 

Garvalho's  Hebrew  text  is  a  primitive  attempt  at  the  teaching 
of  Hebrew  grammar.  Judged  by  modern  standards,  this  work  is 
pathetically  inadequate  and  leaves  much  to  be  desired,  both  in 
regard  to  content  and  to  method.  It  is  difficult  to  conceive  how 
any  of  the  pupils  could  acquire  from  such  a  text  either  an 
understanding  of  grammar  or  a  mastery  of  Hebrew. 

The  book  is  divided  into  two  parts,  one  containing  language 
lessons  and  the  other  the  grammar.  The  language  lessons  consist 
of  isolated  words  and  their  translation.  In  the  first  ten  lessons, 
the  words  are  arranged  in  an  alphabetical  order,  while  in  the 
eleventh  lesson,  the  alphabetical  order  is  reversed  (pntzm).  The 
first  of  these  lessons  comprises  only  monosyllables,  including  also 
an  original  coinage,  tPK,  "fear,"  on  the  basis  of  the  biblical  nnn<, 
as  well  as  such  unusual  and  obscure  words  as  ]T,  which  the 
author  translates,  after  Menahem  ben  Saruk,  as  "food." 

In  the  eighth  lesson,  nouns  in  the  singular,  with  pronominal 
suffixes  in  the  first  person  singular,  are  given,  while  the  ninth 
contains  nouns  in  the  plural,  with  pronominal  suffixes  in  the 
first  person  plural.  The  numerals  are  given  in  the  twelfth  lesson. 

s  See  the  Introduction  to  Carvalho's  Incidents  of  Travel  and  Adventure  in  the  Far  West, 
edited  by  Bertram  W.  Korn  (Jewish  Publication  Society  of  America,  1954),  p.  19. 

129 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 


Beginning  with  lesson  15,  the  vocabularies  are  generally  un- 
vocalized,  and  in  lessons  28  to  40,  biblical  phrases,  mostly 
unvocalized,  are  presented  with  translations. 

The  author  evidently  manifests  some  sense  of  method,  but  he 
gives  little  attention,  in  selecting  his  vocabulary,  to  the  value  of 
the  words  in  terms  of  biblical  frequency  or  even  of  biblical 
occurrence.  Included  in  this  vocabulary  are  a  good  many  tal- 
mudic  and  medieval  words,  as  well  as  original  coinages,  for  some 
of  which  no  basis  can  be  found.  Thus  in  lessons  19  and  24,  we 
find  such  new  coinages  as  ]S*in,  "responder,"  from  the  talmudic 
verb  "pn,  "answered"  or  "settled  a  difficulty";  mwo,  "pins," 
from  TOO,  "support";  ontfj?,  "buttons,"  from  itfp,  "bind";  and 
H1p3,  "jelly,"  from  rnp?,  "ice";  but  also  TO",  "ribband,"  or 
"ribbon,"  the  origin  of  which  cannot  be  found  by  this  writer. 

The  author  is  frequently  careless  in  his  vocalizations  and  trans- 
lations. He  makes  no  provision  for  recurrence  of  vocabulary.  No 
word  occurs  more  than  once,  and  the  biblical  phrases  included  in 
the  last  twelve  lessons  are  not  based  at  all  on  the  preceding 
vocabularies.  Under  such  circumstances,  any  learning  of  the 
language,  except  by  rote  memorization  of  each  individual  word 
and  phrase,  is  inconceivable. 

The  second  part  of  this  book,  comprising  the  grammar,  is 
more  satisfactory  in  terms  of  method*  In  it,  the  author  attempts 
to  present  concisely  and  systematically  the  rudiments  of  Hebrew 
grammar.  He  was  apparently  familiar  with  David  Kimhi's 
Mikhlol,  whose  influence  is  detectable  in  both  the  content  and 
the  method  of  this  part  of  the  book.  He  evinces,  however,  some 
originality  in  the  succinct  arrangement  of  the  material. 

Carvalho  was  apparently  a  scholar  after  a  fashion.  He  must 
have  been  fairly  conversant  with  the  Bible  and  later  Hebraic 
sources.  But  his  scholarship  was  undisciplined  and  desultory.  His 
book  may  have  made  no  contribution  to  the  advancement  of  the 
methodology  of  the  Hebrew  language  and  to  the  study  of  Hebrew 
130 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

grammar,  but  it  undoubtedly  represents  an  important  stage  in 
the  groping  for  a  method  of  teaching  Hebrew  in  America.  It  is 
worthy  of  note  that  this  was  the  first  beginner's  text,  perhaps  the 
only  such  text,  during  the  eighteenth  and  nineteenth  centuries, 
where  recognition  was  given  to  post-biblical  Hebrew  and  where 
this  phase  of  Hebrew  was  regarded  almost  on  a  par  with  biblical 
Hebrew. 

HEBREW  GRAMMAR  IN  AMERICA  COMES  OF  AGE 

The  first  modern  Hebrew  grammar,  worthy  of  this  designation 
and  published  in  America,  appeared  in  1821.  The  author  was 
Moses  Stuart,  Professor  of  Sacred  Literature  in  the  Theological 
Seminary  at  Andover.  A  second  edition  of  this  grammar,  en- 
larged and  improved,  was  published  two  years  later.  It  is  the 
latter  edition  which  is  under  consideration  in  this  essay. 

Moses  Stuart,  to  whom  reference  has  already  been  made  in 
these  pages,  was  an  autodidact.  When,  at  the  age  of  thirty,  he 
assumed  his  post  at  the  Andover  Seminary,  his  knowledge  of 
Hebrew  was,  by  his  own  admission,  extremely  limited.  In  the 
course  of  time,  however,  he  succeeded  in. furthering  his  Hebraic 
knowledge  by  studying  the  works  of  Schultens,  Schroder,  and 
especially  Gesenius,  among  others,  and  turned  the  knowledge 
acquired  to  good  advantage.  His  grammar  is  a  methodical  and 
comprehensive  work,  and  it  bears  evidence  of  pedagogic  insight. 
He  must  have  been  a  gifted  teacher. 

At  the  conclusion  of  Part  II  of  this  book,  dealing  with  orthog- 
raphy and  phonology,  the  author  presents  a  grammatical  anal- 
ysis of  the  first  five  verses  of  Genesis,  in  order  to  exemplify  the 
application  of  the  rules  discussed  in  this  part.  He  also  offers 
occasionally  sound  pedagogic  suggestions.  For  example,  in  order 
to  enable  the  student  to  learn  to  identify  the  Hebrew  letters  and 
vowels  with  their  respective  sounds,  he  advises  him  to 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

practice  writing  them  down,  calling  each  aloud  by  name  and  uttering 
the  sound  of  it  as  often  as  he  writes  it.  Let  this  practice  be  persisted  in, 
until  all  the  vowels  and  consonants  can  be  recognized  with  facility 
and  pronounced  readily;  their  distinctions  definitely  described  and 
drawn  with  the  pen  at  pleasure;  and  their  names  familiarly  recalled 
(p.  46). 

This  advice  is  in  keeping  with  the  psychological  principle  of 
"multiple  sense  appeal." 

In  a  text  of  this  type,  written  over  a  century  ago  by  a  pioneer- 
ing autodidact,  it  should  not  be  surprising  to  find  some  basic 
errors  in  the  light  of  modern  grammatical  science.  Thus  Stuart 
maintains  that  the  final  forms  of  S  ,E>  ,5 ,»  ,D  were  unknown  to 
the  translators  of  the  Septuagint.  The  various  Hebrew  inscrip- 
tions, such  as  those  of  Mesha,  Siloam,  and  others,  had  not  yet 
been  discovered,  and  he  was,  therefore,  unaware  of  the  fact  that 
the  final  letters  retain,  in  effect,  the  original  forms.  Nor  did  he 
know  that  the  hard  pronunciation  of  the  n  ,&  ,D  .1  A  ,3  letters 
actually  preceded  their  soft  pronunciation.  The  theory  held  by 
him  and  other  contemporary  grammarians  was  that  the  dagesh 
was  designed  to  indicate  the  removal  of  the  original  "aspirated" 
pronunciation  of  these  letters.  His  discussion  of  the  division  of 
the  vowels  is  unduly  complicated  and  unscientific. 

Less  excusable  are  some  unfounded  and  rash  statements.  One 
wonders,  for  example,  where  he  picked  up  the  information  that 
"according  to  the  Rabbins,  the  S7  suspended  in  1SW?  (Ps.  80:14) 
means  Christ  suspended"  (p.  44).  He  was  certainly  on  the  wrong 
track  when  he  attributed  to  the  German  Jews  the  pronunciation 
of  the  kametz  "as  a  in  father"  while  "the  Jews  in  most  of  Europe, 
and  (if  I  am  rightly  informed)  in  Palestine  .  .  .  are  in  favour  of 
giving  to  it  the  sound  of  a  in  all"  (p.  61).  He  was  evidently  not 
"rightly  informed."  At  the  time  Stuart  wrote,  the  prevailing 
pronunciation  of  Hebrew  in  Palestine  was  Sephardic,  while  that 
of  the  European  Jews,  including  the  Jews  of  Germany,  was 
generally  Ashkenazic,  in  which  the  kametz  was  pronounced  a 
132 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

as  in  all.  The  Jews  of  the  Ukraine  and  Poland,  on  the  other 
hand,  gave  the  long  kametz  the  sound  of  oo  as  in  food.  He  should 
have  checked  the  sources  of  his  information  more  carefully. 
There  is,  likewise,  no  justification  for  his  confusing  Rashi  script 
with  "the  Tarn  letter  (probably  so  named  from  Tarn  a  grandson 
of  Yarchi,  about  A.  D.  i2oo)."6 

These  and  a  number  of  other  errors  in  this  book  do  not, 
however,  detract  from  its  significance  as  an  important  milestone 
in  the  progress  of  Hebrew  grammatical  studies  in  the  United 
States.  The  fact  that  this  book  went  through  seven  editions 
bespeaks  the  esteem  in  which  it  was  held  and  the  influence  which 
it  exercised  on  scholars  and  students  of  the  Hebrew  language  at 
that  period. 

The  influence  of  Stuart's  work  is  evident  in  the  works  of 
other  grammarians  of  that  period,  particularly  in  that  of  James 
Seixas.7  In  the  Introduction  to  the  first  edition  of  his  Manual 
Hebrew  Grammar,  published  in  1833,  Seixas  declared:  "From  a 
careful  and  frequent  reading  of  the  Bible  with  Professor  Stuart's 
Hebrew  Grammar  (2nd  edition)  before  me,  I  have  obtained  what 
these  sheets  contain."  In  this  Manual,  Seixas  attempted  to 
present  a  concise  digest  of  Stuart's  Grammar,  comprised  within 
the  compass  of  forty-four  pages,  to  which  was  added  "A  List  of 
Peculiar  and  Anomalous  Forms  Found  in  the  Hebrew  Bible." 


6  Cf.  p.  29.  The  reference  is,  of  course,  to  Jacob  Tarn,  a  grandson  of  Rashi.  The 
confusion  of  Rashi  with  Yarchi  occurs  in  another  place  in  the  text  (p.  25),  and  was 
not  uncommon  among  some  scholars,  who  erroneously  applied  the  surname 
Yarchi  to  Rashi,  as  early  as  the  sixteenth  century.  This  error  is  due  to  the  confusion 
of  Rashi,  whose  real  name  was  Solomon  ben  Yitzhak,  with  Solomon  ben  Judah  of 
Lunel,  in  the  fifteenth  century,  who  was  given  the  surname  of  Yarchi,  because  the 
Hebrew  yareah  is  the  equivalent  of  the  French  lune, 

?  James  Seixas  was  a  converted  Jew,  who  taught  Hebrew  to  the  Mormons  and 
other  Christian  sects.  A  letter  of  appreciation  for  his  "valuable  course  of  Hebrew 
instruction"  and  profound  influence  on  his  pupils,  written  by  Orson  Hyde,  one  of 
the  early  Mormon  leaders,  dated  March  31, 1834,  is  in  the  Library  of  the  Historical 
Society  of  Pennsylvania  in  Philadelphia. 

133 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

Seixas  recognized  the  inadequacy  of  this  succinct  digest,  and 
in  his  Introduction  he  stressed  that  it  was  "intended  for  those 
only  who  have  read  or  may  hereafter  read  Hebrew  with 
the  author."  He  undoubtedly  supplemented  this  digest,  in 
teaching  his  pupils,  by  additional  exercises  and  exemplification, 
and  he  was  very  skeptical  as  to  "whether  anyone  can  obtain 
any  satisfactory  knowledge  from  these  pages  without  some  one 
to  explain  them," 

Seixas  must  have  been  a  popular  teacher.  He  speaks  of  "the 
several  hundreds  whom  I  have  instructed."  In  the  second 
edition,  which  he  published  in  1834  "at  the  request  of  many 
friends/'  the  text  was  "enlarged  by  more  copious  rules;  by 
exercises  in  spelling,  reading  and  translating,  and  by  a  full  table 
of  the  Accents.  Also  a  table  of  the  characteristics  of  the  conjuga- 
tions in  the  future  tense  and  in  the  participles  has  been  added, 
and  the  list  of  the  anomalies  at  the  end  has  received  some 
accessions." 

Yet  even  the  second  edition,  although  expanded  to  more  than 
double  the  size  of  the  first  edition,  fails  to  measure  up  to  our 
modern  standards,  both  from  the  standpoint  of  methodology  and 
from  that  of  grammatical  science.  The  exercises  are  inadequate 
and  desultory.  The  nouns  are  not  discussed  at  all.  The  author 
failed  to  understand  the  nature  of  the  n"b  verbs,  and  he  regarded 
the  he  in  these  verbs  as  the  original  third  radical,  which  changed 
to  yod  in  the  middle  of  the  word.  Had  he  read  Stuart's  Hebrew 
Grammar  more  carefully,  he  would  not  have  made  this  error.  8 

A  Hebrew  textbook  and  grammar,  small  in  size  and  meagre  in 
content,  appeared  in  1834,  under  the  authorship  of  Joseph 
Aaron,  "Hebrew  Professor  and  Teacher  of  Hebrew  Grammar." 
The  book  bears  the  title,  pnpTn  n&rmi  na»  yvh  VH  rms>&  n&o 
.nmp3  DS;  mw,  A  Key  to  the  Hebrew  Language  and  the 


8  See  Stuart,  Section  122. 
134 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

Science  of  Hebrew  Grammar  Explained  (with  Points).  First  Part.  In 
his  Preface,  the  author  states: 

This  little  work  is  calculated  to  teach  adults  to  read  the  Hebrew 
Language,  with  points,  correctly,  with  Rules,  which  will  enable  them, 
with  their  own  study  and  application,  to  attain  that  most  desirable 
acquisition,  of  an  acquaintance  with  the  Holy  Tongue. 

This  text  consists  of  three  parts:  (a)  a  series  of  phonetic  and 
grammatical  rules,  especially  related  to  nouns;  (b)  a  dictionary 
comprising  some  three  hundred  words,  all  monosyllables  stem- 
ming from  the  Bible,  with  English  translations;  and  (c)  reading 
exercises  drawn  from  the  liturgy  and  translated  into  English. 
According  to  the  author,  in  his  prefatory  comment  to  the 
Dictionary, 

the  following  collection  of  words  will  not  only  serve  to  perfect  the 
learner  in  joining  the  final  consonants  in  syllables,  the  most  abstruse 
to  beginners,  but  also  to  furnish  him  with  a  good  stock  of  words,  both 
of  which  first  principles  of  language  (and  most  essential  to  the  Hebrew 
tongue,  in  respect  to  the  different  translation  of  words  nearly,  and  often 
identically  the  same  in  orthography  and  pronunciation)  he  will  acquire 
by  an  imperceptible  gradation,  if  his  master  assigns  him  a  daily 
portion  as  a  task,  to  be  learned  by  rote. 

The  author  is  obviously  overoptimistic,  both  as  to  the  efficacy 
of  the  daily  study  of  isolated  words  and  as  to  the  value  of  his 
selected  vocabulary  as  a  basis  for  a  knowledge  of  the  Hebrew 
tongue.  The  study  of  isolated  vocabulary  is  not  regarded  as 
desirable  practice  in  modern  linguistic  methodology.  Nor  is  the 
virtue  of  monosyllabic  words  recognized  in  modern  pedagogy, 
especially  when  these  words  are  not  selected  either  in  terms  of 
occurrence  frequency  or  of  functional  utility,  as  is  the  case  of  the 
vocabulary  included  in  this  text, 

Aaron's  text  represents  no  distinct  contribution  either  to  the 
methodology  of  the  Hebrew  language  or  to  grammatical  science. 
The  author,  probably  an  East  European  or  German  Jew,  must 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

have  acquired  some  familiarity  with  the  Sephardic  pronuncia- 
tion, then  fashionable  among  the  American  Jews,  and  he  con- 
fused the  pronunciations  of  Hebrew  considerably,  as  is  evident 
from  his  inconsistent  transliterations.  Thus  he  transliterated 
Shiva  Nang  (shewa  na6,  vocal  shewa),  Chataph  pausuch  (hataph 
patah),  and  Maisag  (meteg).  He  pronounced  the  tzerei  i  as  in 
mine  and  the  kametz  o  as  in  £0,  but  the  consonant  ajrin  is  pro- 
nounced by  him  as  ng,  in  accordance  with  the  usage  then  in 
vogue  among  the  Sephardic  Jews  in  America. 

In  his  Preface,  Aaron  promised  to  publish  a  second  part  in 
which  he  intended  to  discuss  "verbs  with  their  conjugations.'* 
But  this  part  apparently  never  appeared. 

THE  MOST  SCIENTIFIC  HEBREW  GRAMMAR  OF  THE 
PERIOD  IN  AMERICA 

Allusion  has  previously  been  made  to  the  low  level  of  Hebraic 
scholarship  in  America  during  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth 
century.  There  was  hardly  anyone  in  America  during  that  period 
who  possessed  a  thorough  grounding  in  Hebraic  sources  and  a 
scientific  mastery  of  the  Hebrew  language.  Little  wonder,  then, 
that  the  most  scientific  Hebrew  grammar  of  that  period  and, 
perhaps,  of  the  century,  published  in  America,  was  written  by  a 
European-trained  Jew,  Isaac  Nordheimer  (1809-42). 

Nordheimer  received  his  early  Hebraic  training  from  the 
noted  Talmudist,  Moses  Sofer  of  Pressburg,  Hungary.  He  con- 
tinued his  studies  in  Germany  and  received  his  Ph.D.  in  Oriental 
languages  from  the  University  of  Munchen  in  1834.  Shortly 
thereafter,  in  1835,  he  came  to  America,  and  in  1836  accepted 
the  post  of  "Acting  Professor  of  Arabic,  etc."  in  the  University 
of  the  City  of  New  York.  With  the  encouragement  and  assistance 
of  his  friend,  William  W.  Turner,  whose  "constant  and  essential 
aid  in  both  the  literary  and  typographical  execution35  he 
136 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

acknowledged,  he  published  in  two  volumes  A  Critical  Grammar 
of  the  Hebrew  Language  (New  York,  1838,  1841). 

In  this  grammar,  the  author  brings  to  bear  upon  his  investi- 
gations of  the  Hebrew  language  his  vast  knowledge  of  Oriental 
and  Indo-European  languages,  as  well  as  of  the  general  prin- 
ciples of  comparative  linguistics.  He  makes  frequent  references 
to  Arabic,  Aramaic,  and  Ethiopic,  as  well  as  to  Sanskrit,  Greek, 
and  Latin,  and  to  Germanic  and  Slavic  languages.  Some  of 
his  ideas  may  sound  to  us  now  farfetched,  fanciful,  and  obsolete, 
but  they  certainly  bespeak  extensive  erudition,  ingenuity,  and 
scholarship. 

In  the  Introduction,  Nordheimer  sets  forth  his 

constant  aim,  to  analytically  investigate,  and  synthetically  investigate 
and  explain,  these  laws  which  give  rise  to  the  phenomena  of  formation 
and  inflection  presented  by  one  of  the  most  natural  and  regular  of 
languages;  and  at  the  same  time  incidentally  to  point  out  its  surpris- 
ingly intimate  connection,  both  lexicographical  and  grammatical,  not 
only  with  the  other  Shemitish  languages,  but  also  with  those  of  the 
Japhetish  or  Indo-European  stock, . ,  . 

Both  in  his  style  and  in  his  approach  he  distinctly  manifests  the 
influences  of  his  Germanic  training,  of  German  mysticism,  and 
especially  of  that  "new  and  splendid  era  of  philology  [which] 
has  been  reserved  for  the  nineteenth  century,55  and  which  had 
been  ushered  in  by  such  brilliant  grammarians  as  Wilhelm 
Gesenius  (1786-1842)  and  Heinrich  Ewald  (died  1875).  His  zeal 
and  enthusiasm  for  this  "new  and  splendid  era"  seem  to  be 
boundless,  and  he  regards  "the  revolution .  . .  produced  within 
the  last  thirty  years  in  the  science  of  philology"  as  "one  which 
for  magnitude  and  rapidity  has  not  been  surpassed  in  the  history 
of  the  human  mind."  He  is  often  carried  away  by  his  zeal  and 
enthusiasm  into  the  realm  of  metaphysics,  into  philosophical 
discussions  of  the  "eternal  laws  of  speech,"  of  "the  intimate 
connection  between  the  internal  impression  of  the  soul  and  its 

137 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

external  representative,"  of  the  "nature  of  the  human  mind  and 
the  genius  of  the  language  which  is  its  offspring." 

Aside  from  its  involved  style  and  pretentious  metaphysics, 
Nordheimer's  work  contains  much  interesting  material  and 
many  sound  grammatical  ideas.  The  discussion  of  the  vowels 
and  their  development  (Chapter  II)  based  on  the  vocalic 
triangle,  on  the  three  ends  of  which  are  the  three  original  vowels 
z,  a,  and  u,  is  in  consonance  with  our  modern  conceptions  of  the 
vowel-system.  The  treatment  of  consonant  changes  (Chapter 
VI)  and  vowel  changes  (Chapter  VIII)  is  generally  good  and 
is  amply  exemplified,  although  it  contains  a  number  of  errors. 
The  analogies  and  comparisons  adduced  by  the  author  from 
other  Semitic  and  Indo-European  languages  are  often  en- 
lightening and  interesting.  Thus,  for  example,  the  author's 
reference  to  the  i  vowel  as  a  characteristic  of  the  feminine  gender 
in  Semitic  and  Indo-European  languages  (Section  127)  is  in- 
triguing and  serves  to  explain  a  number  of  grammatical 
phenomena  in  Hebrew. 9 

Nordheimer,  like  the  other  grammarians  of  that  period, 
failed  to  understand  the  phonetic  evolution  of  the  n  ,D  ,D  ,T  ,Ji  ,a 
letters.  Like  Stuart,  he  regarded  the  dagesh  in  these  letters  as 
evidence  of  their  original  "aspirate"  pronunciation  (Section  38). 
Unlike  Stuart,  however,  he  misunderstood  and  misconstrued 
the  nature  of  the  segolate  nouns  and  of  the  n"1?  verbs. 

In  corroboration  of  the  assumption  that  the  "aspirate"  pro- 
nunciation is  the  original,  Nordheimer  adduces  "the  fact  that 
the  aspirate  pronunciation  is  that  which  is  denoted  in  the 
simplest  manner,  viz.,  by  the  character  alone,  while  the  unas- 
pirate  sound  is  signified  by  the  addition  of  a  diacritical  point"; 
namely,  the  dagesh.  This  evidence  is,  however,  invalid.  The 
dagesh  originated  during  the  Masoretic  period,  long  after  the 

9  Gf.  the  writer's  ICtmhi's  Hebrew  Grammar  (Mikhlol),  274,  n.  475. 

138 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

original  explosive  pronunciation  of  the  n  ,&  ,D  ,7  j  ,3  letters  had 
been  lost  by  a  process  of  partial  assimilation  of  these  consonants 
to  the  open-lip  position  of  the  preceding  vowel;  compare  the 
Latin  habeo,  Anglo-Saxon  haeban,  and  English  have;  or  the  Latin 
sapiens  and  French  savant.  *  ° 

The  rejection  of  the  helping-vowel  in  the  declension  of  the 
segolates  was  regarded  by  Nordheimer  as  due  to  the  fact  that 
"the  second  vowel  is  shifted  back  to  the  first  consonant  and 
shortened,  e.  g.  ^g  with  suff.  ••sVa  for  'oW*  (Section  103,  2). 
Stuart,  on  the  other  hand,  correctly  interpreted  such  instances 
as  a  restoration  of  the  original  form,  where  the  "furtive  vowel" 
in  the  second  syllable  is  dropped  in  the  declensions,  the  original 
form  being  TjVa  (Section  143). 

Similarly,  Nordheimer  erroneously  construed  the  he  in  the 
rrb  verbs  as  a  radical,  which  changes  in  the  inflections  to  yod 
(rpia)  or  is  "hardened  into  its  cognate  n,  e.  g.  nnVj  for  nnVa" 
(Section  439).  He  merely  observes  in  a  footnote  that  the  evidence 
in  Hebrew  and  in  Arabic  has  led  "some  late  writers  to  conclude 
that  all  Hebrew  H"1?  verbs  were  originally  either  •»**?  or  l"1?." 
Stuart  consistently  and  correctly  viewed  the  he  in  these  verbs 
as  replacing  z.yod  or  a  waw,  in  order  to  avoid  ending  a  word  with 
these  "moveable  consonants"  (Section  12s).11  Both  Stuart  and 
Nordheimer  were,  however,  wrong  in  regarding  the  D  in  nrfrjj, 
as  well  as  in  the  inflected  nominal  forms  of  the  feminine  (''n&Dn), 
as  a  substitute  for  the  he.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  n  (t)  is  the 
original  feminine  characteristic  termination  of  both  verbs  and 
nouns  in  the  Semitic  languages.  Under  the  influence  of  a  preced- 
ing vowel,  this  characteristic  ending  tends  to  fall  away,  by 
partial  assimilation  to  the  open-lip  position  of  the  vowel,  also 

I  °  On  the  origin  of  the  dagesh  see  W.  Chomsky,  Jewish  Quarterly  Review,  XXXII, 
I,  p.  45,  n.  63. 

II  Ibid.,  205,  n.  301. 

139 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

in  Arabic  and  in  Aramaic  in  nouns,  but  it  is  retained  in  both 
these  languages  in  the  verb.  This  phenomenon  is  common  also 
in  Indo-European  languages. x  2  The  he  at  the  end  of  the  word  in 
Hebrew  merely  serves  as  a  vowel  indication,  warning  the  reader 
not  to  end  the  word  with  a  vowel-less  consonant.  In  the  in- 
flected forms,  however,  the  n  is  retained.  In  the  case  of 
the  form  probably  evolved  from  rfra  (contracted  from 
cf.  nfettl  Lev.  25:21),  where  the  n  came  to  be  regarded  as  a 
radical,  consequently  giving  rise  to  nrh\  under  the  influence  of 
the  predominating  form  fl^tpfj. 

Incidentally,  the  theory  that  the  third  radical  in  the  verbs  is 
really  yod  (or  waw  which  passes  intoyod)  was  advanced  as  early 
as  the  beginning  of  the  twelfth  century  by  Moses  Ibn  Chiqui- 
tilla, 13  although  Derenbourg  attributes  this  theory  to  Samuel 
Ha-Nagid. I4  Among  the  modern  grammarians,  Gesenius  seems 
to  have  been  the  first  to  arrive  at  this  theory  independently. x  s 

Neither  Stuart  nor  Nordheimer  had  any  clear  idea  about  the 
nature  of  the  Hebrew  tenses.  Both  employed  the  Indo-Germanic 
names  of  the  three  periods  of  time  (past  or  preterite,  present,  and 
future),  which  are  entirely  foreign  to  the  Semitic  tense  idea, 
according  to  which  occurrences  are  viewed  only  in  terms  of 
completed  or  incomplete  action.  The  character  or  kind  of  the 
action,  rather  than  the  time  of  the  action,  is  indicated  by  the 
Hebrew  tenses,  as  was  clearly  and  cogently  stated  by  Driver  in 
A  Treatise  on  the  Use  of  the  Tenses  in  Hebrew  (1874).  Nordheimer's 
lengthy  and  involved  statement,  in  which  he  argues  that  the 

18  Cf.  O.  Jesperscn,  Language,  265,  and  O'Leary,  Comparative  Grammar  of  Semitic 
Languages t  54  flf. 

s»  Cf.  Backer,  Hebrdische  Sprachwissenschaft,  60,  and  Abraham  Ibn  Ezra  als  Gram- 
matiker,  91  f.  and  153. 

x*  Opuscules  et  Traitts  tf  Abort  l-Walid  Merwan  Ibn  Djinah,  Introduction  XX, 
*$  Lehrgebdude  der  hebrdischen  Sprache>  421, 

140 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

"  choice  of  tenses  in  the  Hebrew,  as  well  as  the  paucity  of  their 
number,  are  additional  proofs  of  the  venerable  antiquity  of  the 
language,"  is,  therefore,  unfounded,  and  further  attests  the 
influence  of  German  mysticism  on  his  grammatical  thinking. 

Both  Stuart  and  Nordheimer  were  the  outstanding  Hebrew 
grammarians  of  that  period  in  America.  Nordheimer  was  the 
greater  Hebraic  scholar  and  the  more  profound  linguist,  but 
Stuart  must  have  been  superior  to  him  in  teaching  ability. 
Nordheimer's  Grammar  lacks  the  simplicity  and  clarity  of  style, 
as  well  as  the  systematic,  methodical  organization  which 
Stuart's  Grammar  possesses.  This  might  explain  why  Stuart's 
work  enjoyed  such  vogue  and  popularity  as  to  go  through  seven 
editions,  whereas  only  two  editions  of  Nordheimer' s  Grammar 
appeared. 

Stuart,  Seixas,  and  Nordheimer x  6  all  refer  erroneously  to  an 
inverted  nun  in  tfbaa  (Num.  10:35).  This  error  is  due  to  the  fact 
that  the  section  tfbaa  wi  (Num.  10:35-36)  is  marked  off  in  our 
Masoretic  text  by  an  inverted  nun  at  the  beginning  and  at  the 
end.  This  nun  was  plausibly  construed  by  Ludwig  Blau  as  the 
initial  of  nakud  (punctuated),  referring  to  the  dots  which  had 
been  in  the  text  originally  above  and  below  the  letters  in  this 
section,  but  were  later  eliminated  to  prevent  confusion  resulting 
from  the  letters  and  dots  running  into  one  another. T  7  These 
grammarians  must  have  regarded  this  inverted  nun  as  referring 
to  the  nun  of  BOH. 


16  See  M.  Stuart,  Hebrew  Grammar  (2nd  edition),  44;  J.  Seixas,  Manual  Hebrew 
Grammar  (1833),  12;  I.  Nordheimer,  A  Critical  Grammar  of  the  Hebrew  Language 
(New  York,  1838,  1841),  I,  7,  n. 

J7  Cf.  the  talmudic  statement,  Shabbat  H5b-n6a,  nVjmVo  nvao'D  n'npn  nV  npy 
m  VNP  l»iV  nBD^oi,  and  Rashi  ad  loc.t  also  Soferim  6:1. 

141 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

THE  FIRST  SPELLERS  AND  PRIMERS  FOR  JEWISH 
SCHOOLS  IN  AMERICA 

All  these  scholarly  efforts  were  designed  primarily  for  adult 
beginners  or  advanced  students  of  Hebrew  in  the  colleges  and 
universities.  The  first  attempt  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  young 
pupils  in  the  elementary  grades  of  the  Jewish  schools,  which 
began  to  be  established  during  the  second  quarter  of  the  nine- 
teenth century,  was  made  by  that  indefatigable  worker  on 
behalf  of  Jewish  education  in  America  during  that  period,  Isaac 
Leeser.  His  textbook,  entitled  'antf'  ^D  nstt  flK  IB1?1?  *p7  n*n» 
nnar  p0*?  •0*n,  The  Hebrew  Reader  Designed  as  an  Easy  Guide  to 
the  Hebrew  Tongue  for  Jewish  Children  and  Self-Instruction.  No.  I, 
The  Spelling  Book,  was  first  published  in  1838,  and  in  1856  the 
fourth  edition  of  this  text  was  issued. 

This  book,  as  Leeser  writes  in  his  Preface  to  the  fourth  edi- 
tion, was  to  be  the  first  of  "a  whole  series  calculated  for  the 
acquisition  of  the  Hebrew,  if  proper  encouragement  had  been 
extended."  He  complained,  however,  that  although  the  book 
"has  met  with  approbation,  still  the  sale  has  been  quite  small." 
Yet  the  author  drew  comfort  from  the  fact  that  "  additional 
efforts  are  made  to  erect  schools  for  the  spread  of  the  Hebrew 
language,"  and  consequently  he  felt  that  he  might  be  encour- 
aged to  proceed  with  the  publication  of  "Hebrew  Reader  No.  II, 
containing  easy  lessons  for  translations  from  Hebrew  into 
English." 

It  is  regrettable  that  Leeser  did  not  carry  out  his  plan  for  the 
publication  of  the  subsequent  readers  of  the  series.  The  Spelling 
Book  merely  gives  attention  to  phonetic  aspects  of  Hebrew.  It 
provides  exercises,  as  well  as  a  few  simple  grammatical  rules  of 
pronunciation  and  reading  of  the  language.  Liturgical  selec- 
tions with  English  translations  are  appended  at  the  end  of 
the  book. 

142 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

The  Spelling  Book  also  includes  directions  to  the  teachers, 
designed  to  guide  them  in  the  proper  use  of  the  lessons  in  the 
text.  These  directions  are  interspersed  among  the  lessons,  a 
practice  which  is,  from  a  pedagogic  point  of  view,  unsatis- 
factory. However,  both  in  the  construction  of  the  reading 
exercises  for  the  pupils,  as  well  as  in  his  suggestions  to  the 
teachers,  Lesser  evinces  a  fine  pedagogic  insight  and  acu- 
men. 

A  primer  much  more  comprehensive  in  scope  and  ambitious 
in  approach  and  method  was  that  by  the  Reverend  G.  M.  Cohen, 
published  in  1850,  bearing  the  endorsements  of  Rabbis  Leo 
Merzbacher,  Max  Lilienthal,  Herman  Felsenheld,  and  Muhl- 
felder.  This  work.  The  Hebrew  Language,  consists  of  two  parts: 
theoretical  and  practical.  The  first,  the  theoretical  part,  con- 
tains rules  covering  virtually  the  entire  range  of  Hebrew  gram- 
mar, concisely  presented,  as  well  as  paradigms  of  both  nouns  and 
verbs.  The  second  part  comprises  reading  and  language  exer- 
cises. The  language  exercises  are  modeled  on  the  pattern  of  the 
Ollendorf  method  of  teaching  foreign  languages,  according  to 
which  each  lesson  exemplifies  a  certain  specific  principle  of 
grammar  or  usage  and  operates  with  a  limited  new  vocabulary, 
which  is  given  at  the  beginning  of  the  lesson.  Translation 
exercises  for  drill  purposes  are  provided  in  each  lesson.  These 
exercises  consist  of  expressions  and  sentences  which  are  mainly 
disconnected,  although  toward  the  end  of  this  book  some  original 
stories  and  connected  discourse,  incorporating  biblical  materials, 
are  included. 

Cohen  was  undoubtedly  a  good  Hebraist  and  a  fine  peda- 
gogue. His  Hebrew  is,  in  the  main,  accurate  and,  in  the  spirit 
of  the  time,  biblical,  but  it  is  simple  and  direct,  without  the 
periphrases  and  the  flourishes  characteristic  of  the  Haskalah 
style,  then  in  vogue.  Some  of  his  pedagogic  ideas  may  sound 
revolutionary  even  today.  Few  of  our  modern  Hebrew  educators 

143 


WILLIAM  CHOMSKY 

in  America  would  subscribe,  for  example,  to  the  following 
recommendation  made  by  our  author: 

As  soon  as  the  scholar  knows  the  letters  well  and  is  able  to  combine 
them  with  some  alacrity,  nothing  should  be  read  by  him  without  the 
meaning  thereof  being  given  immediately.  He  ought  never  to  imagine 
that  a  word  could  be  read  without  understanding  it. 

Yet  it  is  doubtful  whether  Cohen  had  any  direct  experience 
in  teaching  children.  He  attempted  to  achieve  results  which  are 
unrealistic.  He  managed  to  compress  within  the  framework  of 
some  thirty  pages  the  fundamental  principles  of  Hebrew  gram- 
mar, and,  within  a  little  over  fifty  pages,  a  vocabulary  of  some 
six  hundred  words  in  various  formations.  It  is  inconceivable  how 
children,  in  the  primary  grades,  could  be  expected  to  master  all 
this  material  in  one  year,  or  even  in  two  years,  even  taking  into 
consideration  the  fact  that  the  Hebrew  instruction  in  those  days 
was  given  in  all-day  schools.  Such  a  feat  would  tax  the  capacities 
also  of  older  beginners. 

Furthermore,  one  finds  it  difficult  to  reconcile  the  author's 
statement  that  the  pupil  "ought  never  to  imagine  that  a  word 
could  be  read  without  understanding  it'3  with  his  procedure  of 
including  in  the  text  liturgical  selections,  without  translations, 
which  are  couched  in  a  vocabulary  beyond  that  incorporated  in 
the  Hebrew  section.  Did  he  mean  to  exempt  liturgical  Hebrew 
from  the  category  of  words  that  should  never  be  read  without 
comprehension?  Cohen's  point  of  view  in  this  regard  is  not 
entirely  clear. 

The  mechanical  make-up  of  the  Hebrew  primers  in  those 
days  was,  of  course,  far  below  the  modern  standards  for  such 
books.  They  were  drab  and  unattractive  in  appearance.  The 
print  was  small,  and  no  pictures  or  illustrations,  no  rhymes  or 
songs,  no  frills  or  furbelows  were  employed  to  relieve  the 
monotony  and  drabness  of  these  texts.  This  may  be  one  reason 
why  Jewish  education  was  so  unpopular  in  those  days,  even 
144 


HEBREW  GRAMMAR  AND  TEXTBOOK  WRITING 

though  the  public  schools  had  not  yet  come  into  vogue  to 
claim  the  major  part  of  the  time  and  attention  of  the  Jewish 
children. 

SUMMARY 

In  sum,  the  development  of  Hebrew  grammar  and  textbook 
writing  during  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth  century  pro- 
ceeded along  two  lines:  methodological  and  philological.  Most 
of  the  works  discussed  here  had  a  didactic  motivation  and 
purpose.  They  were  designed  primarily  to  teach  Hebrew  to 
beginners,  young  and  old.  Two  of  these  grammars,  those  by 
Stuart  and  Nordheimer,  were  also  designed  to  further  the 
science  of  Hebrew  grammar.  Although  crudities  and  errors  are 
to  be  found  in  both  the  methodological  and  the  philological 
areas,  there  is  no  doubt  that  these  works  constituted  the  ground- 
work for  the  progress  of  Hebraic  studies  in  this  country.  Some 
of  these  works,  especially  those  of  Stuart  and  Nordheimer,  can 
still  be  studied  with  profit. 


145 


The  Founders  of 

"Wissenschaft  des  Judentums" 
and  America 

GUIDO  KISCH 

I 

ON  AMERICAN  JEWISH  HISTORIOGRAPHY 

TWENTY-THREE  years  ago,  even  before  his  arrival  in 
America,  this  writer  became  acutely  aware  of  the  importance 
of  research  in  the  history  of  the  Jews  in  the  New  World.  The 
various  causes  of  emigration  from  Europe,  political  and  legal 
as  well  as  religious  and  economic,  the  fate  of  the  immigrants 
in  their  new  homeland,  their  religious  activities,  and  their 
achievements  in  all  areas  of  human  culture  aroused  his  interest 
as  an  historian.  The  interaction  of  European  atmosphere  and 
American  climate  caught  his  special  attention  and  occupied  it 
for  many  years.  From  this  interest  several  studies  resulted,  small 
in  size  at  the  beginning,  later  growing  in  volume  through 
increasing  historical  materials  and  a  deepening  insight  into  the 
religious  developments  and  sociological  problems. *  Future  Amer- 

Dr.  Guide  Kisch  is  Research  Professor  of  Jewish  History  at  the  Hebrew  Union 
College  -Jewish  Institute  of  Religion  in  New  York. 

1  "German  Jews  in  White  Labor  Servitude  in  America,"  Publications  of  the  American 
Jewish  Historical  Society,  XXXIV  (1937),  n~49;  "A  Voyage  to  America  Ninety 
Years  Ago:  The  Diary  of  a  Bohemian  Jew  on  His  Voyage  from  Hamburg  to  New 
York,  1847,"  PAJHS,  XXXV  (1939),  65-113;  "Israels  Herold:  The  First  Jewish 
Weekly  in  New  York,"  Historia  Judaica,  II  (1940),  65-84;  "Two  American  Jewish 
Pioneers  of  New  Haven,"  Historia  Judaica,  IV  (1942),  16-37;  "The  Revolution 


GUIDO  KISCH 

lean  Jewish  historiography  will  have  to  assess  whatever  merit 
these  researches  may  have. 

Despite  the  availability  of  the  abundant  resources  of  the 
libraries  in  New  York,  great  idealism  and  sincere  devotion  to 
scholarship  were  needed  to  carry  on  and  successfully  complete 
such  studies.  A  volume  of  the  Publications  of  the  American 
Jewish  Historical  Society  appeared  at  irregular  intervals,  about 
every  two  to  four  years.  "Unlike  the  quarterly  of  the  American 
Historical  Association  where  there  frequently  appear  speculative 
and  theoretical  articles,  the  Publications  show  a  consistent  devo- 
tion to  notes,  sketches,  isolated  documents,  historical  oddments 
and  tag  ends.  Exceptions,  such  as  Alexander  Marx's  'Aims  and 
Tasks  of  Jewish  Historiography3  (1918),  were  few  in  number. 
The  first  volume,  published  in  1 893,  bears  a  close  resemblance 
to  many  of  its  thirty-four  successors."3  Obviously,  historical 
research  owes  a  debt  of  gratitude  to  all  the  well-meaning 
amateur  historians  who  preserved  historical  materials  in  the 
pages  of  the  Publications.  As  a  rule,  however,  their  comments 

of  1848  and  the  Jewish  'On  to  America'  Movement,"  PAJHS,  XXXVIII  (1949), 
185-234;  In  Search  of  Freedom:  A  History  of  American  Jews  from  Czechoslovakia  (London, 
1949),  xvi,  373  pp. 

8  Harold  J.  Jonas,  "Writing  American  Jewish  History,"  Contemporary  Jewish  Record, 
VI  (1943),  144;  moreover,  the  important  discussion  in  Bernard  D.  Weinryb, 
"American  Jewish  Historiography:  Facts  and  Problems,"  Hebrew  Union  College 
Annual,  XXIII,  Part  II  (1950-51),  221-44;  cf-  a*80  H.  Schmidt,  "A  Broader 
Approach  to  Jewish  History,"  Commentary,  VIII  (1949),  588-93.  On  the  American 
Jewish  Historical  Society,  Isidore  S.  Meyer,  "The  American  Jewish  Historical 
Society,"  Journal  of  Jewish  Bibliography,  IV  (1943),  Nos.  1-2.  A  good  survey  of 
the  present  state  of  research  in  American  Jewish  history  is  found  in  Joshua 
Trachtenberg,  "American  Jewish  Scholarship,"  The  Jewish  People  —  Past  and 
Present,  IV  (New  York,  1955),  446-48.  On  modern  Jewish  scholarship  in  America 
in  general,  Ismar  Elbogen,  "American  Jewish  Scholarship:  A  Survey,"  American 
Jewish  Tear  Book,  XLV  (1943),  47-65;  Solomon  B.  Freehof,  "Prospects  for  Amer- 
ican Jewish  Scholarship,"  Judaism,  III  (1954),  381-90;  cf.  also  Joshua  Trachtenberg, 
* 'Jewish  Bibliography  in  America,"  Studies  in  Bibliography  and  Booklore,  II  (1956), 
99-101;  Moses  Rischin,  An  Inventory  of  American  Jewish  History  (Cambridge,  Mass., 
1954). 

148 


FOUNDERS  OF      WISSENSGHAFT  DBS  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

were  limited  to  such  remarks  as  "The  document  is  self- 
explanatory,"  "The  letters  may  speak  for  themselves/'  and  the 
like.  This,  of  course,  hardly  deserved  the  name  of  historiography . 
Nor  did  it  produce  understanding  or  encouragement  of  attempts 
at  a  scholarly  approach  toward  American  Jewish  history. 

The  present  situation  differs  considerably  from  that  of  even 
ten  years  ago.  American  Jewish  history,  which  in  some  circles 
was  regarded  as  altogether  without  scholarly  quality  because 
of  its  lack  of  Hebrew  sources,  has  risen  to  the  academic  level. 
All  Jewish  institutions  of  higher  learning  in  the  country  teach 
it  as  a  supplement  to  the  study  of  the  ancient,  medieval,  and 
modern  European  history  of  the  Jews.  A  number  of  important 
research  centers  came  into  being,  destined  to  collect  and  preserve 
materials  as  well  as  to  stimulate  iuterest  in  this  most  recent 
addition  to  the  various  fields  of  Jewish  history.  Still  more,  a 
methodology  of  American  Jewish  history  is  under  scholarly 
discussion,  and  new  ways  and  means  of  literary  approach  are 
being  worked  out,  adjusted  to  the  specific  character  of  the 
subject.  The  tercentenary  celebration  made  the  general  public 
aware  of  the  aims  and  tasks  of  American  Jewish  history  and 
historiography,  although,  from  a  scholarly  point  of  view,  it 
has  failed  —  at  least  until  now  —  to  produce  the  American 
"Graetz"  or  "Dubnow." 

To  Professor  Jacob  R.  Marcus  goes  credit  for  a  considerable 
share  in  the  upward  trend  of  the  development  so  briefly  out- 
lined. In  addition  to  the  founding  of  the  American  Jewish 
Archives  and  the  scholarly  journal  of  the  same  name  published 
under  its  auspices,  his  own  well-known  literary  output  in  the 
new  area  of  Jewish  historiography  furnishes  ample  evidence  of 
this.  It  was  appreciation  of  his  work  and  achievements  that 
persuaded  me  to  accept  the  invitation  of  the  editor  to  participate 
in  the  volume  commemorating  the  tenth  anniversary  of  the 
American  Jewish  Archives.  To  contribute  an  article  to  a 


GUIDO  KISCH 

Festschrift  comprised  exclusively  of  essays  in  American  Jewish 
history  involved  considerable  difficulties  not  only  on  account 
of  the  time  limit,  but  also  because  of  my  present  preoccupation 
with  problems  of  the  history  of  European  Jewry  during  the 
sixteenth  century.  The  very  sketchy  presentation  that  follows 
can,  therefore,  merely  touch  on  and  direct  the  attention  of 
scholars  to  a  problem  of  American  Jewish  Geistesgeschichte  that 
deserves  thoroughgoing  investigation  on  a  larger  scale  than  has 
heretofore  been  accorded  it.  Unfortunately,  the  author  must 
deny  himself  the  privilege  of  delving  more  deeply  into  this 
subject. 

II 

LEOPOLD  ZUNZ'S  LETTERS  TO  AMERICA 

More  than  half  a  century  ago,  Ludwig  Geiger  stated  in  the 
conclusion  to  his  interesting  article,  "Aus  L.  Zunz5  Nachlass": 
"In  three  years  Zunz's  one  hundredth  birthday  will  be  commem- 
orated; a  dignified  biography  would  seem  the  most  worthwhile 
celebration  of  this  memorial  day."3  In  1936,  at  the  time  of 
Zunz's  fiftieth  Tahrzeit,  Ismar  Elbogen  revived  the  memory  of 
one  of  the  greatest  Jewish  historians  of  the  nineteenth  century 
with  a  fine  brief,  yet  comprehensive,  essay.4  Up  to  this  day, 
however,  a  biography  worthy  of  the  "father  of  cWissenschaft 
des  Judentums'  "  has  not  yet  been  written. s  In  an  earlier 
valuable  study,  "Aus  dem  Leben  Leopold  Zunz*,  "  Siegmund 
Maybaum  correctly  assessed  the  great  difficulties  which  will 
confront  the  future  biographer  of  that  outstanding  figure  in 

3  Ludwig  Geiger's  %sitschriftfur  die  Geschickte  derjuden  in  Deutschland,  V  (1892),  268. 

*  Ismar  Elbogen,  "Leopold  Zimz  zum  Ged&chtnis,"  Funfyigster  Bericht  der  Lehranstalt 
fur  die  Wissenschaft  des  Judentums  in  Berlin  (Berlin,  1936),  14-32. 

s  For  bibliography,  see  Alexander  Marx,  Studies  in  Jewish  History  and  Booklore 
(New  York,  1944),  346,  note  I. 

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FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

the  history  of  Jewish  scholarship:  "Through  his  many-sided 
activities  in  scholarship  and  life  Zunz  makes  no  small  demands 
on  the  intellectual  qualities  of  his  biographer.  First  of  all,  he 
must  be  thoroughly  acquainted  with  the  development  of  the 
entire  'Judische  Wissenschaft'  in  his  century,  influenced  as  it 
was  for  the  most  part  in  its  foundation  and  growth  by  Zunz; 
then,  he  must  be  familiar  with  the  school  system  of  the  Berlin 
Jewish  community  and  also  with  the  political  movements  of 
the  year  1848  and  the  following  period;  finally,  he  must  not 
be  lacking  an  intimate  knowledge  of  the  cultural  history  of  the 
Jews  in  this  era  and  of  the  history  of  journalism  and  belles- 
lettres  in  Prussia  and  Berlin  during  the  first  half  of  the  nine- 
teenth century."6  This  statement  is  of  undiminished  validity 
even  today. 

Zunz's  modern  biographer  will  be  even  more  intrigued. 
While  the  work  of  preceding  generations  concentrated  on  the 
collection  and  presentation  of  the  documentary  raw  material, 
his  task  will  be  to  evaluate  it  from  the  point  of  view  of  the 
history  of  ideas.  Only  recently  was  Zunz's  dependence  on  the 
ideological  structure  of  scholarship  in  his  own  time  first 
investigated.7  A  similar  approach  will  be  necessary  to  reveal 
his  influence  on  modern  Jewish  scholarship  in  general  and  also 
on  America.  That  such  a  topic  is  by  no  means  far-fetched  is 
self-evident.  If  it  should  need  support  from  the  factual  aspect  of 
Zunz's  personal  interest  in  America  and  the  receptivity  of 
American  Jewish  scholars  to  the  master's  work  even  during 
his  lifetime,  a  few  documents  offer  eloquent  evidence  of  such 

6  Wissenschaftliche  Beigabe  zum  Oster-Programm  der  Lekranstalt  fur  die  Wissmschaft 
des  jfudenttans  (Berlin,  1894),  63  pages  in  quarto. 

i  Luitpold  Wallach,  "The  Scientific  and  Philosophical  Background  of  Zunz's 
'Science  of  Judaism*,"  Historia  Judaica,  IV  (1942),  51-70;  Wallach,  "The  Begin- 
nings of  the  Science  of  Judaism  in  the  Nineteenth  Century,"  ibid.,  VIII  (1946), 
44-60,  with  tether  bibliography;  Fritz  Bamberger,  "Zunz's  Conception  of  His- 
tory," Proceedings  of  the  American  Academy  for  Jewish  Research,  XI  (1941),  1-25. 


GUIDO  KISCH 

contacts.  Attention  will  be  directed  to  them  in  the  following 
pages. 

The  earliest  document  goes  back  to  the  year  1822,  a  time 
from  which  very  few  examples  of  the  otherwise  abundant  Zunz 
correspondence  are  preserved.8  It  is  the  well-known  letter  of 
June  1 5  1822,  addressed  to  Mordecai  Manuel  Noah,  who  had 
launched  his  "Ararat53  project  of  a  Jewish  State  in  America 
and  found  interest  for  it  among  the  members  of  the  Vere in  fur 
Kultur  und  Wissenschaft  der  Juden  in  Berlin. 9  After  some  contacts 
with  the  group  had  been  established,  Noah  received  an  official 
letter  from  the  Verein  in  Berlin,  signed  by  Eduard  Cans,  the 
learned  Hegelian,  antagonist  of  Friedrich  Carl  von  Savigny, 
and  later  professor  of  law  at  the  University  of  Berlin,  as  the 
president,  and  by  Zunz,  as  the  vice-president.  It  expresses  ap- 
preciation, gratitude,  and  even  enthusiasm  for  the  project  be- 
cause of  "the  general  distress  and  public  calamity  under  which 
a  great  part  of  the  European  Jews  labored  some  years  ago  and 
still  are  seen  to  labor."  "The  more  enlightened  and  respectable 
segment  of  European  Jews  are  looking  with  anxious  eagerness 
to  the  United  States  of  North  America,  happy  to  exchange  the 
miseries  of  their  native  soil  for  public  freedom  which  is  there 
granted  to  every  religion  and  likewise  for  that  general  happiness 


8  Zunz,  "Meine  Schriften,"  Jahrbuchfurjudische  Geschichte  und Literatur  1936  (Berlin, 
I937)>  *  68,  note  10,  by  Immanuel  Bernfeld. 

9  Published  in  two  different  English  translations:  Samuel  Oppenheim,  "Mordecai 
M.  Noah;  A  Letter  to  Him,  Dated  1822,  from  Eduard  Gans  and  Leopold  Zunz, 
Relating  to  the  Emigration  of  German  Jews  to  America,"  PAJHS,  XX  (1911), 
147-49;  Morris  U.  Schappes,  A  Documentary  History  of  the  Jews  in  the  United  States, 
1654-1875  (New  York,  1950),  pp.  159  f.,  with  an  historical  account  on  pp.  157  f. 
and  p.  604,  note  4.  Cf.  Bernard  D.  Weinryb,  "Noah's  Ararat  Jewish  State  in  Its 
Historical  Setting,"  PAJHS,  XLIII   (1954),   170  ff.,  especially  pp.   184  f.   and 
note  50;  Siegfried  Ucko,  "Geistesgeschichtliche  Grundlagen  der  Wissenschaft  des 
Judentums  (Motive  des  Kulturvereins  vom  Jahre  1819),"  ^eitschriftjur  die  Geschichte 
der  Juden  in  Deutschland,  V  (1934),  23,  33  (on  Sinai  [Eliezar  Simon]  Kirschbaum's 
pamphlet,  Hilkhoth  Temoth  Hamashiah,  published  in  1822). 

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FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

which  not  the  adherents  of  a  privileged  faith  alone,  but  every 
citizen  is  allowed  to  share/5  "Information  relating  to  the  state 
of  the  Jews  in  America,  their  progress  in  business  and  knowledge 
and  the  rights  allowed  them  in  general  and  by  each  state"  is 
requested  in  order  to  promote  "the  emigration  of  European 
Jews  to  the  United  States  .  .  .  from  a  country  where  they  have 
nothing  to  look  forward  to  but  endless  slavery  and  oppression." 
This  letter  which,  unfortunately,  is  preserved  only  in  contem- 
porary translations  from  the  German  published  in  American 
newspapers,  reflects  very  clearly  the  mood  of  despair  and  the 
waning  hope  for  a  change  in  the  oppressive  political  climate 
in  Germany. 

Another  such  outpouring  of  despondency  from  Zunz's  pen 
reached  the  shores  of  America  after  the  failure  of  the  Revolution 
of  1848.  As  much  as  fifteen  years  earlier,  Zunz  had  an  eye  on 
America,  at  that  time  giving  consideration  to  an  offer  of  a 
rabbinical  position  in  New  York.  I0  Now,  in  the  spring  of  1849, 
he  became  a  literary  contributor  to  the  newly  founded  first 
Jewish  weekly  in  New  York,  Israels  Herold,  and  also  a  cor- 
respondent, sending  to  its  editor,  Isidore  Busch,  reports  on  the 
situation  of  the  Jews  in  Germany.11  An  anonymous  "Letter 
from  Berlin,"  preserved  in  the  original  German  in  the  pages  of 
that  newspaper,  is  for  the  most  part  political  in  content.12 
Zunz's  interest  in  politics  and  his  journalistic-political  activity 
as  a  member  of  the  editorial  staff  of  the  influential  Spenersche 
in  Berlin  are  well  known.  *  3  There  can  be  no  doubt 


10  David  Kaufmann,  Gesammelte  Schriften,  I  (Frankfurt  am  Main,  1908),  343. 

11  For  details,  see  Guido  Kisch,  "Israels  Herold,"  Historic.  Judaica,  II  (1940)?  75  f- 
"  Israels  Herold,  I  (1849),  63. 

*3  Siegmund  Maybaum,  "Aus  dem  Leben  Leopold  Zunz,"  14,  note  I;  1  6.  Zunz's 
work  on  the  editorial  staff  of  the  Spenersche  fyitung  deserves  a  detailed  investiga- 
tion. 

153 


GUIDO  KISCH 

that  this  letter  was  written  by  him. x  4  It  displays  his  skepticism, 
sarcasm,  and  bluntness.  As  he  had  done  earlier,  and  as  he  did 
again  later  on,  in  discussing  the  status  of  the  Jews,  Zunz  resorted 
to  a  "Flucht  in  die  Offentlichkeit"  by  mentioning  in  public  his 
private  affairs.  Who  else  was  as  well  informed  and  concerned 
about  Zunz's  pitiful  personal  situation  as  Zunz  himself?  He 
who  in  1848  had  expressed  his  loyal  sympathy  with  the  rev- 
olutionaries,15 offered  in  mocking  terms  a  description  of  the 
Jewish  situation,  against  the  background  of  the  general  situation, 
and  bitterly  complained  about  his  own  misfortune.  The  letter, 
dated  Berlin,  April  30,  1849,  reads  in  part,  in  English  translation, 
as  follows: 

You  ask  me  for  reports  on  Jewish  conditions  at  a  time  when  no  one 
is  a  Jew,  and  no  one  a  Christian,  when  perhaps  the  Jews  feel  more 
sympathy  for  Pope  Pius  IX  (who,  with  the  aid  of  the  French,  is  now 
entering  Rome  quite  peacefully  and  grants  amnesty)  than  many  a 
Catholic;  when  many  a  Christian  is  a  more  ardent  admirer  of  the 
Jews  of  Jacob  than  of  his  saints!  A  time  when  our  brothers  in  Hungary 
put  on  the  knapsack  instead  of  the  %idakel  [£izit:  "fringes"]  and  even 
the  walls  of  Bremen  do  not  collapse  at  the  acceptance  of  Jews  as 
citizens  within  it ! 

For  instance,  who  is  concerned  now  when  the  wealthy  [Jewish]  commu- 
nity of  Berlin,  in  wretched  niggardliness,  withdraws  the  small  annual 
stipend  from  an  old  man  highly  deserving  of  it  for  his  scholarly  work, 
a  man  who  is  an  ornament  of  Israel  of  whom  one  might  well  be  proud, 

x*  Marx,  Studies  in  Jewish  History  and  Booklore,  353,  refers  to  a  statement  by  Zunz: 
"There  appeared  in  November,  1842,  in  the  Spenersche  %eihmg  an  article  against 
[Zacharias]  Frankel  which  some  people  wrongly  ascribe  to  me;  I  do  not  write 
anonymously."  "This  statement  is  rather  curious,"  adds  Marx,  "since  twelve 
years  earlier  Zunz  had  sent  a  long  critical  article  (which  was  never  printed)  to 
[Gabriel]  Riesser  with  the  injunction  to  publish  it  anonymously  and  not  to  tell 
even  his  most  intimate  friends  who  the  author  was."  In  the  case  under  discussion 
above,  the  reason  for  the  anonymity  is,  quite  obviously,  to  be  found  in  the  then 
existing  political  situation.  On  the  latter,  see  Zunz's  own  remarks  in  Marx,  op.  <?#», 
355- 

xsSee  Ludwig  Geiger,  "Zunz  im  Verkehr  mit  Behdrden  und  Hochgestellten," 
Monatsschriftjur  Gesckichte  und  Wissenschaft  des  Judentums,  LX  (1916),  246. 

154 


FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

and  would  expose  him  to  want,  a  man  like  Zunz,  were  it  not  for  the 
noblehearted  friends  who  gladly  efface  such  disgrace  by  contributing 
of  their  own  means?  Berlin  continues  to  be  besieged,  a  second  Chamber 
elected  by  the  people  is  dissolved  once  more.  Again  a  few  human 
sacrifices  fall  before  the  Moloch-like  kingdom,  the  purple  is  revived 
with  blood.  .  .  . 

.  .  .  and  with  all  this,  you  still  wish  reports  on  Judaism?  Pardon  me, 
I  cannot  help  you  in  this;  nevertheless,  I  shall  shortly  send  you  the 
[Allgemeine]  ^eitung  des  Judentwms  and  the  Orient  by  steamer;  besides, 
they  are  not  read  very  much  even  here. l6 

The  third  Zunz  letter  sent  to  an  American  correspondent 
is  of  an  entirely  different  character.  It  was  written  twenty-five 
years  later  and  was  addressed  to  Rabbi  Bernhard  Felsenthal  in 
Chicago.  On  the  eve  of  Zunz's  eightieth  birthday  Felsenthal 
joined  with  two  other  eminent  American  rabbis  and  scholars, 
Kaufmann  Kohler  and  Liebmann  Adler,  as  well  as  with  a 
prominent  lawyer  and  leader  in  Jewish  community  activities, 
Julius  Rosenthal,  all  of  Chicago,  in  addressing  an  enthusiastic 
letter  of  congratulation  to  Zunz.  In  it  his  great  achievements 
and  his  many  contributions  to  the  Wissenschaft  des  Judentums 
were  extolled,  and  the  debt  owed  him  by  American  Jewish 
scholarship  and  the  letter  writers  who  recognized  him  gratefully 
as  their  teacher  was  described  in  vivid  language.  His  entire 
literary  work  was  reviewed  in  detail  and  praised.  A  draft  of 
the  letter  is  preserved  in  the  Felsenthal  collection  of  the  Amer- 
ican Jewish  Historical  Society,  and  is  published  here  for  the 
first  time. J  7  Zunz's  letter  of  thanks  and  appreciation  did  not 

1 6  The  original  wording  in  German  is  reproduced  in  Appendix  I.  A  similar  habit 
of  employing  the  press  in  the  interests  of  his  own  private  affairs  is  related  also  of 
Zunz's  friend  and  onetime  associate  in  the  Kulturverein,  Heinrich  Heine,  the  poet; 
see  Eugen  Wohlhaupter,  Dichterjuristen  (Tubingen,  1955),  II,  515:  "Nach  einem 
Zwischenspiel,  in  welchem  Heine  wieder  einmal  die  Presse  fur  seine  privaten 
Interessen  zu  mobilisieren  versuchte,  . . ." 

*i  Appendix  II.  This  letter  is  mentioned  by  Adolf  Kober,  "Jewish  Religious  and 
Cultural  Life  in  America  as  Reflected  in  the  Felsenthal  Collection,"  PAJHS, 

155 


GUIDO  KISCH 

convey  similar  rejoicing. x  8  It  was  dictated  by  a  mood  of  mel- 
ancholy and  depression.  Having  lost,  less  than  a  week  before, 
his  faithful  companion  "after  fifty- two  years  and  one  hundred 
days  of  happily  married  life,"  he  was  broken  in  spirit,  never 
again  to  recover.19  From  a  letter  of  Moritz  Steinschneider, 
published  below,  we  learn  that  through  his  mediation  Felsenthal 
sent  another  letter  of  congratulation  to  Zunz  ten  years  later,  on 
the  occasion  of  the  master's  ninetieth  birthday.20  Neither  its 
wording  nor  the  reply  is  known. 

Zunz's  work,  however,  has  not  ceased  to  exert  influence  upon 
American  Jewish  scholarship  to  this  very  day.  If  literary  support 
for  this  positive  statement  be  needed,  a  more  impressive  state- 
ment could  hardly  be  found  than  the  following  paragraph  in 
the  conclusion  of  Solomon  Schechter's  appraisal  of  Zunz's 
literary  work,  which  was  written  with  clear  vision  long  before 
the  future  leader  of  the  Conservative  movement  was  called  to 
America. 

It  is  difficult  to  say  what  turn  Judaism  would  have  taken  without 
the  influence  of  Zunz  in  those  parts  of  the  world  where  the  Jews  have 

XLV  (1955),  100.  Sincere  thanks  are  due  to  Rabbi  Isidore  S.  Meyer,  librarian  and 
editor  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society,  for  placing  this,  as  well  as  the 
Zunz,  Geiger,  and  Steinschneider  letters,  Appendices  III,  V,  and  VI,  at  my 
disposal,  and  for  permission  to  publish  them. 

1 8  It  is  published  from  the  original  in  the  Felsenthal  collection,  Appendix  III. 
C£  Adolf  Kober,  "Aspects  of  the  Influence  of  Jews  from  Germany  on  American 
Jewish  Spiritual  Life  of  the  Nineteenth  Century,"  in  Eric  E.  Hirschler  (editor), 
Jews  from  Germany  in  the  United  States  (New  York,  1955),  I/O  f. 

1 » This  is  corroborated  also  by  a  letter  from  Abraham  Geiger  to  Felsenthal  of 
September  16,  1874,  printed  in  Kober,  loc.  cit.,  pp.  171  f.  There  Geiger  refers  to 
the  congratulatory  letter  that  "pleased  him  [Geiger]  greatly  and  brought  much 
joy  also  to  Zunz,  evidence  of  which  is  found  in  his  letter  of  thanks." 

20  Appendix  VI.  On  the  same  occasion  Felsenthal  published  an  article,  "Leopold 
Zunz,"  in  the  Illinois  Staatszeitung  of  August  8,  1884,  which  was  reprinted  in  the 
Jewish  Herald  of  August  15,  1884;  Emma  Felsenthal,  Bernhard  Felsenthal,  Teacher 
in  Israel  (New  York,  1924),  325,  No.  191. 

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FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

already  ceased,  or  have  not  as  yet  begun,  to  think,  and  in  which 
the  respect  for  institutions  is  so  great  that  the  fact  of  their  mere  existence 
is  sufficient  reason  for  maintaining  them.  In  these  countries  Judaism 
will  always  remain  the  private  property  of  Parnasim  and  a  matter  of 
indifference  to  the  great  bulk  of  the  community.  But  happily  there 
are  also  other  countries,  and  they  contain  the  great  majority  of  the 
Jews,  where  people  do  think  and  where  the  power  of  the  idea  is  so 
great  that  nothing  else  but  ideas  could  reconcile  them  with  Judaism. 
For  these  countries  Zunz  did  a  saving  work  by  revealing  to  them  the 
great  idea  of  Judaism,  and  it  is  in  these  countries  that  we  have  to 
look  for  the  future  of  Judaism.21 


Ill 

AMERICAN  CONTACTS  OF  OTHER  LUMINARIES  OF 
"WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS" 

No  less  research  and  effort  than  for  Zunz  will  have  to  be  expended 
also  on  determining  the  influence  on  American  Jewish  scholar- 
ship of  other  luminaries  of  Wissenschaft  des  Judentums.  In  fact, 
such  names  as  Zacharias  Frankel  (1801-75),  Abraham  Geiger 
(1810-74),  Heinrich  (Hirsch)  Graetz  (1817-91),  and  Moritz 
Steinschneider  (1816-1907)  became  stars  in  the  firmament  of 
the  modern  Jewish  scholarly  world,  including  America.  Here, 
too,  only  a  few  literary  finds  and  observations  can  be  offered 
in  the  notes  that  follow;  intensive  search  for  as  complete  raw 
material  as  possible  and  its  evaluation  must  at  present  remain  a 


31  Solomon  Schechter,  "Leopold  Zunz,"  in  his  Studies  in  Judaism:  Third  Series 
(Philadelphia,  1924),  pp.  115  L  This  essay,  comprising  pp.  84-142,  "was  written 
in  -1889  for  a  prize  offered  by  the  New  York  Jewish  Ministers*  Association,  which 
was  awarded  for  it  in  1890.  The  intention  to  enlarge  it  and  to  add  some  of  Zunz's 
unpublished  notes  was  never  carried  out."  Of,  Schechter,  op.  cit.,  p.  279,  note.  It 
would  seem  to  be  a  good  idea  for  the  New  York  Board  of  Rabbis  to  offer  another 
prize  for  a  definitive  biography  of  Zunz.  It  is  significant,  indeed,  that  the  editor  of 
and  contributors  to  the  most  recent  one-volume  Jewish  history,  Great  Ages  and 
Ideas  of  the  Jewish  People  (New  York,  1956),  could  find  no  more  appropriate  motto 
for  their  work  than  a  quotation  from  Leopold  Zunz. 

157 


GUIDO  KISGH 

wistful  hope.  The  name  of  Adolf  Jellinek  (1820-93),  the  cel- 
ebrated preacher  and  profound  student  of  philosophy,  Kabala, 
and  Midrash,  should  not  be  left  unmentioned  in  this  connection. 
Not  even  its  significance  for  the  development  of  Jewish  preaching 
in  America  has  until  now  claimed  an  historian's  attention. 2  2 

Abraham  Geiger's  ideas  had  a  most  powerful  impact  on  the 
growth  of  American  Judaism,  and  his  influence  proved  to  be 
lasting.  *3  Yet  he  himself  could  not  realize  or  foresee  this  during 
his  lifetime.  Only  five  weeks  before  he  died,  he  wrote  to  Rabbi 
Felsenthal  in  Chicago:  "My  contact  with  America  is  very  loose. 
Kohler,  Landsberger  [Max  Landsberg]  in  Rochester,  young 
Adler  [Felix  Adler]  do  not  write  a  single  word."  Nevertheless,  he 
concluded  what  was  probably  his  last  letter  to  America  with  the 
following  question  and  statement:  "Will  you  send  us  new  pupils 
from  America?  We  could  use  them  and  they  us." 24 

Zacharias  FrankeFs  importance  for  American  Jewish  religious 
thought  and  life  is  by  no  means  of  lesser  magnitude,  nor  should 
it  be  underestimated,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  until  now  American 
scholars  have  given  it  scant  attention. 2S  Frankel  is  the  only  one 

2a  A  brief  article,  "Jellinek  and  America,"  was  published  by  George  Alexander 
Kohut  in  PAJHS,  XXXIII  (1934),  237-49.  Apart  from  the  few  documents  re- 
produced therein,  it  contains  merely  sentimental  reminiscences  in  a  more 
belletristic  style.  Not  even  the  alleged  occasion  of  their  compilation  and  publication 
is  historically  correct:  the  year  1930  did  not  mark  "the  centenary  (1930)  of  the 
death  of  Adolf  Jellinek."  He  died  in  1893.  Cf.,  moreover,  Guido  Kisch,  In  Search 
of  Freedom,  298,  note  1 8. 

a*  Gf.  David  Philipson,  The  Reform  Movement  in  Judaism  (New  York,  1931),  passim. 

a  *  Abraham  Geiger's  letter  to  Felsenthal  of  September  16,  1874  (the  Felsenthal 
collection  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society):  "...  Meine  Verbindung 
mit  Amerika  1st  sehr  locker.  Kohler,  Landsberger  [Max  Landsberg]  in  Rochester, 
der  junge  Adler  lassen  nicht  ein  Wortchen  von  sich  h6ren. . .  .  Werden  Sie  uns  neue 
Schuler  aus  Amerika  senden?  Wir  konnen  sie  und  sie  uns  brauchen." 

*s  Gf.  Philipson,  op.  cit.,  passim;  Louis  Ginzberg,  "Zechariah  Frankel,"  in  his 
Students,  Scholars  and  Saints  (Philadelphia,  1928),  195-216.  Ginzberg,  op.  cit.,  216, 
concluded  his  discourse  on  Frankel  with  these  words:  "The  whole  future  of  Jewish 
science  depends  upon  whether  we  shall  number  among  ourselves  many  more  men 

158 


FOUNDERS  OF      WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

among  the  early  representatives  of  Wissenschaft  des  Judenturns 
who  gave  any  thought  to  American  Jewish  history.  As  early  as 
1863  he  even  published  a  long  article,  "Zur  Geschichte  der 
Juden  Amerikas,"  which  has  completely  escaped  American 
Jewish  historians.  It  is  an  extensive,  critical  review  of  I.  J. 
Benjamin  IPs  Drei  Jahre  in  Amerika,  1859-62,  with  numerous 
references  to  related  publications  and  a  number  of  corrections. 2<s 
In  commenting  on  George  Washington's  well-known  letter  to 

who,  like  Frankel,  shall  combine  harmoniously  the  old  and  the  new,"  In  commem- 
oration of  the  one  hundredth  anniversary  of  Frankel's  birth,  a  pamphlet  was 
published  by  Professor  Gotthard  Deutsch  of  Cincinnati  entitled  %achariah  Frankel 
(author,  place,  and  date  of  publication  not  given  on  the  cover).  A  dedication  page 
reads:  "To  the  Rev,  Dr.  B.  Felsenthal,  Rabbi  Emeritus  of  Sinai  Congregation, 
Chicago,  111.,  are  these  pages  respectfully  dedicated  on  the  occasion  of  his  Eightieth 
Birthday,  January  2,  1902,  by  his  true  friend  and  admirer,  G.  Deutsch."  The 
pamphlet  contains  three  addresses,  each  entitled  "Zachariah  Frankel,"  by  Gotthard 
Deutsch,  Louis  Ginzberg,  and  Kaufmann  Kohler,  which  had  been  delivered  at 
the  Frankel  memorial  meeting  of  the  Ohole  Shem  Society,  on  October  6,  1901, 
in  New  York.  (A  copy  of  the  rare  pamphlet  is  hi  the  New  York  Public  Library.) 
In  his  necrology,  "Solomon  Schechter,"  Ginzberg,  250  f.,  remarked:  "In  his  first 
public  address  in  this  country  he  [Schechter]  stated  that  the  paramount  duty  of 
American  Jewry  is  the  emancipation  of  Jewish  science  ...  it  is  ...  the  source  of 
our  rejuvenation,  the  spring  from  which  we  draw  life  and  existence."  This  is  in 
the  good  tradition  of  Wissenschaft  des  Judenturns.  In  contrast  to  Ginzberg,  Norman 
Bentwich,  Solomon  Schechter:  A  Biography  (Philadelphia,  1938),  pp.  42  ff.,  relates 
practically  nothing  of  Schechter's  relationship  to  Frankel's  school  of  thought  and 
apparently  did  not  search  for  solid  information.  Yet  Bentwich  knew  that  Rabbi 
Pincus  Fritz  (not  Friedrich)  Frankl  lived  with  Schechter  "as  David  and  Jonathan," 
that  the  last-mentioned  "lived  much  of  the  time  in  FrankPs  house,"  and  that 
Schechter  dedicated  to  his  memory  the  first  volume  of  his  Studies  in  Judaism.  Pincus 
Fritz  Frankl,  successor  to  Abraham  Geiger,  as  a  rabbi  in  Berlin,  was  one  of  Zacharias 
Frankel's  most  gifted  students  and  a  favorite  pupil  of  his.  His  intellectual  relation- 
ship with  Schechter  was  certainly  important,  of  lasting  influence,  and  by  no 
means  confined  to  the  insignificant  details  reported  by  Bentwich. 

a6  Monatsschrift  jvr  Geschichte  und  Wissenschaft  des  Judentums,  XII  (1863),  321-29; 
361-77;  431-33;  cf.  Guido  Kisch,  In  Search  of  Freedom,  pp.  185  f.  Frankel's  article 
remained  unknown  also  to  all  who  cooperated  in  the  recent  English  translation, 
I.  J.  Benjamin,  Three  Tears  in  America,  1859-1862,  translated  from  the  German  by 
Charles  Reznikoff,  with  an  introduction  by  Oscar  Handlin,  2  vols.  (Philadelphia, 
1956),  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  last-mentioned  author  once  reviewed  my  book 
in  which  the  quotation  is  to  be  found. 

159 


GUIDO  KISGH 

the  Hebrew  congregation  of  Newport,  R.  I,,  Frankel  remarked: 
"In  Newport,  a  phase  in  American  Jewish  history  has  found 
fulfillment,  which  evokes  admiration  as  well  as  sadness.  History 
finds  its  continuation  on  different  soil,  if,  as  we  must  state 
regretfully,  with  less  splendor.  Yet  America  has  a  great  future, 
and  the  hope  may  be  uttered  that  Judaism  in  America,  too,  will 
fulfil  its  mission."37 

Heinrich  Graetz  is  perhaps  the  only  historic  figure  among  the 
founders  of  Wissenschaft  des  Judentums  to  whose  significance  for 
Jewish  learning  and  education  in  the  broadest  meaning  of  the 
terms  for  American  Jewry  a  specific  study  has  been  devoted.  In 
commemoration  of  the  fiftieth  anniversary  of  the  death  of  the 
great  Jewish  historian,  the  editor  of  Historia  Judaica  invited 
Dr.  Solomon  Grayzel  to  write  an  historical  evaluation  of  the 
role  played  by  Graetz's  classical  work  on  Jewish  history  in 
America.  This  fine  essay,  to  which  the  reader  may  be  referred 
for  detailed  information,  studies  the  genesis  and  success  of  the 
"American  Graetz"  on  the  basis  of  archival  and  newspaper 
material.28  Only  a  few  illustrative  findings  and  statements  of 
its  author  on  Graetz's  influence  upon  Jewish  historical  thought 
and  knowledge  in  America  may  be  quoted  here. 

. .  .  Of  the  greatness  of  that  influence  there  can  be  no  doubt.  It 
may  be  measured  by  the  number  of  sets  of  the  American  edition  sold 
by  the  Jewish  Publication  Society,  which  reached  into  many  tens 
of  thousands,  though  their  price  was  not  particularly  cheap.  It  may 
also  be  measured  by  the  fact  that  other  publishers  thought  it  good 
business  to  produce  a  translation  of  the  Volkstumliche  Geschichte,  another 
and  more  condensed  abbreviation  of  the  larger  German  work.  .  .  . 

* f  Frankel,  loc.  cit.9  329  (translation  from  the  German).  In  his  Monatssckrift>  VI 
(1857),  359-64,  Frankel  had  published  (in  German  translation)  the  three  messages 
of  congratulation  addressed  to  George  Washington  in  1790  by  the  "Hebrew 
Congregation"  in  Savannah,  Ga.;  the  one  in  Newport,  R.  I.;  and  a  joint  message 
from  the  congregations  in  Philadelphia,  New  York,  Charleston,  S.  C.,  and 
Richmond,  Va.  He  also  published  Washington's  reply  to  these  congregations. 

«8  Solomon  Grayzel,  "Graetz's  History  in  America,"  Historia  Judaica,  III  (1941), 
53-66;  the  quotation  is  taken  from  pp.  62  f. 

160 


FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS59  AND  AMERICA 

This  edition,  too,  has  undergone  several  reprintings.  The  same  edition 
has  also  been  translated  into  Yiddish  and  has  had  a  fairly  wide  cir- 
culation in  this  form.  Nor  is  this  all;  every  text-book  written  during 
the  past  fifty  years  has  openly,  or  silently  though  quite  as  obviously, 
based  itself  on  Graetz.  It  would  be  difficult  indeed  to  find  a  university 
thesis  or  any  other  volume,  by  Jew  or  Gentile,  dealing  with  the  Jews, 
wherein  the  name  of  Graetz  does  not  appear  in  the  footnotes  or  the 
bibliography. 

The  volumes  of  Graetz,  sometimes  the  original  German  but  usually 
the  American  edition,  have  served  as  an  inexhaustible  mine  for  articles 
in  Jewish  dailies  or  weeklies.  The  sermons  of  the  hundreds  of  American 
rabbis  have  not  infrequently  derived  their  meat  and  substance,  and 
sometimes  even  their  attitudes  and  eloquence,  from  the  English 
translation.  .  .  .  The  fact  remains  indisputable  that  an  entire  generation 
of  American  Jews  has  been  brought  up  on  Graetz's  historical  teaching 
and  that  Graetz's  ideas  have  become  current  intellectual  coin. 

Graetz's  warm-hearted  treatment  of  and  his  pride  in  the  Jewish 
scholars  of  the  past  has  certainly  coincided  with  the  efforts  to  revive 
Jewish  culture  on  American  soil,  and  may,  in  part,  have  been  a 
stimulus  to  these  efforts.  .  .  .  The  sense  of  optimism  which  pervades 
his  work  and  his  faith  in  the  future  of  the  Jewish  people  have  been  a 
source  of  perennial  encouragement.  Graetz  has  undoubtedly  been 
a  builder  of  American  Israel. 

On  Graetz's  personal  contacts  with  American  Jewry  during 
his  lifetime  very  little  has  come  to  light.  For  this  reason,  a 
personal  letter  written  in  English  by  the  historian  in  1890  and 
addressed  to  an  otherwise  unknown  officer  of  an  unnamed  society 
in  Dallas  that  had  conferred  honorary  membership  on  Graetz 
may  be  of  some  interest.29  It  may  possibly  even  lead  to  the 
discovery  of  other  Graetz  letters  to  America  which  have  re- 
mained hidden  until  now. 3  ° 

a  9  Autograph  letter  in  the  author's  collection  of  Jewish  autographs,  Appendix  IV. 
A  facsimile  reproduction  appeared  in  Historia  Judaica,  III  (1941),  facing  p.  54. 

a  °  There  is,  however,  reason  to  doubt  that  other  such  letters  are  extant,  if  more 
were  written  at  all.  None  are  found  in  the  Felscnthal  collection,  or  in  the  American 
Jewish  Archives,  or  in  the  Jewish  Theological  Seminary  of  America  Library. 
Prior  to  1891  there  were  very  few  correspondents  in  America  who  could  possibly 
have  exchanged  letters  with  Graetz. 


GUIDO  KISGH 

Moritz  Steinschneider,  "father  of  Jewish  bibliography/'  the 
fiftieth  anniversary  of  whose  death  was  commemorated  in  1957, 
had,  among  other  students  who  later  came  to  America,  one 
who  continued  his  work  in  our  country  and  earned  for  himself 
the  name  of  the  "American  Steinschneider":  Alexander  Marx. 
Marx  devoted  a  number  of  publications  to  his  revered  teacher, 
and  from  these  Steinschneider's  importance  for  Jewish  bib- 
liography in  America  can  be  sensed.  Although  this  particular 
topic  has  not  been  treated  specifically,31  the  renowned  bib- 
liographer nevertheless  left  his  mark  on  American  Jewish 
scholarship,  through  his  writings  as  well  as  his  pupils.  Moreover, 
his  private  library,  his  literary  apparatus,  and  his  unpublished 
manuscripts  and  correspondence  form  one  of  the  most  treasured 
collections  in  the  Jewish  Theological  Seminary  of  America  in 
New  York.  It  seems  that  Steinschneider  was  the  only  one  among 
the  European  scholars  mentioned  whose  work  found  recognition 
in  the  form  of  academic  degrees  bestowed  on  him  honoris  causa 
by  American  institutions  of  higher  learning  (Hebrew  Union 
College  and  Columbia  University).32 

In  his  correspondence  with  Rabbi  Felsenthal  in  Chicago, 
Steinschneider' s  interest  in  the  progress  of  American  Jewish 
scholarship  can  be  detected  long  before  Jewish  bibliography  was 
fostered  in  the  United  States  by  his  own  students.  As  early  as 
February  5,  1883,  he  asked  for  an  announcement  in  an  American 
journal  calling  on  Jewish  authors  to  send  him  copies  of  their 
published  works  for  review  in  his  journal  of  Jewish  bibliography, 
Hamazkir. 3  3 

s*  Cf.  Marx,  Studies  in  Jewish  History  and  Booklore,  pp.  346  f.,  note  I,  with  bib- 
liography. 

3*  Guido  Kisch,  In  Search  of  Freedom,  pp.  8 1  f. 

33  Letter  (post  card)  of  February  5, 1883,  in  the  Felsenthal  collection,  Appendix  V; 
cf.  Kober,  PAJHS,  XLV  (1955),  p.  127,  where,  however,  this  interesting  passage 
was  omitted. 

162 


FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

Another  letter,  dated  one  year  later,  contains  news  of  the 
discontinuance  of  Hamazkir  and  information  on  its  editor's  plans 
for  its  resumption.  "Since  number  126  no  issue  of  Hamazkir 
has  been  published.  If  I  should  continue  it  in  1885,  ^  w^  not 
be  printed  by  Benzian  [the  publisher],  who  has  systematically 
verschlemilt  [neglected]  it."34  The  same  letter  speaks  of  the 
imminent  death  of  Steinschneider5  s  son  Albert,  "whom  you 
[Felsenthal]  saw  in  Cleveland."  Other  letters  extant  in  the 
aforementioned  correspondence  of  Steinschneider  might  possibly 
yield  additional  information  of  historical  interest  for  American 
Jewish  scholarship. 


"The  history  of  thought,  of  learning,  and  of  the  various 
sciences  is  usually  conceived  in  terms  of  the  ideas  and  contribu- 
tions of  outstanding  individuals,  and  those  who  are  eager  to 
relate  these  contributions  to  some  more  general  factors,  are 
inclined  to  stress  the  impact  of  an  individual's  nationality,  his 
real  or  imagined  class  status,  the  'spirit  of  the  time/  or  the 
'social  situation,3  whatever  that  may  mean."35  Such  considera- 
tions, with  appropriate  modification,  may  certainly  be  applicable 
to  Jewish  Wissenschaftsgeschichte  also.  That  in  many  instances 
they  may  be  fruitfully  supplemented  by  a  study  of  certain  more 
modest  and  prosaic,  and  therefore  not  decisive,  factors  may  well 
be  demonstrated  by  the  abo\e  exposition. 


34  Letter  (post  card)  of  August  5,  1884,  in  the  Felsenthal  collection,  Appendix  VI. 
No.  126  of  TDrDn,  Hebraeische  Bibliographic,  XXI,   dated  November-December, 
1881-82,  was  issued  in  March,  1883  ("ausgegeben  Marz  1883")-  No  further  issues 
were  published  by  Steinschneider. 

35  Paul  O.  Kristeller,  "The  University  of  Bologna  and  the  Renaissance,"  Studi  e 
Memorie  per  la  Storia  dell9  Universita  di  Bologna,  New  Series,  I  (Bologna,  1956),  313. 

163 


GUIDO  KISGH 


Appendix  I* 

Anonymous  letter  (by  %unz)  to  the  Editor  of  Israels  Herold. 

Berlin,  den  30.  April  1849. 

Sie  verlangen  von  mir  Berichte  iiber  judische  Zustande  in  einer  Zeit, 
wo  Niemand  Jude  ist,  und  Niemand  Christ,  wo  vielleicht  die  Juden 
mehr  Sympathie  fur  den  Papst  Pius  IX.  fuhlen,  der  nun  mit  Hilfe 
der  Franzosen  auf  fast  ganz  friedliche  Weise  in  Rom  einzieht  und 
Amnestic  gibt,  als  mancher  Katholik,  und  mancher  Christ  ein  warmerer 
Verehrer  der  Juden  Jacobi,  als  seiner  Heiligen  ist!  Wo  unsere  Briider 
in  Ungarn  das  Tornister  statt  das  Zidakel  umhangen,  und  selbst 
Bremens  Mauern  nicht  dariiber  zusammenstiirzen,  dass  Juden  in 
ihrer  Mitte  aufgenommen  werden  und  Burger  sind !  ? 

Wer  kummert  sich  zum  Beispiel  jetzt  darum,  wenn  die  reiche 
Gemeinde  Berlins  aus  elender  Knickerei  einem  alten,  um  die  Wissen- 
schaft  hochverdienten  Manne,  der  Israels  Zier  ist  und  auf  den  es 
stolz  sein  darf,  wenn  es  einem  Zunz  den  kleinen  Jahresgehalt  entzieht 
und  der  Noth  preisgibt,  wenn  es  nicht  hochherzige  Freunde  gabe, 
die  solche  Schmach  gern  aus  ihren  eigenen  Mitteln  tilgen?  Berlin 
wird  weiter  belagert,  wieder  wird  eine  vom  Volk  erwahlte  zweite 
Kammer  aufgelost,  wieder  fallen  dem  Moloch-Konigsthum  einige 
Menschenopfer,  mit  Blut  wird  ja  der  Purpur  aufgefrischt.  In  Schleswig 
kampft  man  fort  ob  deutsch,  ob  danisch;  indess  Deutschland  selbst  um 
einen  Konig  bettelt.  Der  Konig  von  Preussen  hat  die  Krone  definitiv 
ausgeschlagen. 

Ueber  das  tapfere  Ungar-Volk  erhalten  Sie  gewiss  von  Wien 
bessere  Nachrichten,  da  Sie  aber  dieses  durch  Herrn  D's.  Giite  friiher 
als  die  Post  erhalten  durften,  will  ich  Ihnen  mittheilen,  dass  ich  aus 
zuverlassiger  Quelle  weiss,  es  werden  an  100,000  Russen  in 
Siebenbiirgen  und  durch  Galizien  iiber  die  Karpaten  einriicken  und 
Radetzky  soil  mit  einem  Theil  seiner  Armee  durch  Steyermark 
herbeieilen,  nachdem  der  Frieden  in  Italien  zu  weit  herabgestimmten 

*  The  footnotes  to  sections  I  to  III  contain  information  as  to  where  the  originals  of  the  following 
letters  may  be  found,  or,  if  originals  have  not  been  preserved,  the  journals  in  which  the  letters 
were  published. 

These  letters  are  exact  copies;  even  the  antiquated  orthography  of  the  originals  has  been 
preserved. 

164 


FOUNDERS  OF     WISSENSGHAFT  DES JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

Forderungen  (von  213  Millionen  zu  80  Millionen  Franken) 
abgeschlossen  1st.  Auf  diese  Weise  diirfte  das  tapfere  Magyaren  Volk 
trotz  aller  Opfer  und  Anstrengung,  trotz  ihren  wahren  Heldenkampfen 
und  neuen  glanzenden  Siegen  endlich  erliegen  miissen.  Bei  so  bewegtem 
politischen  Leben,  wozu  noch  wichtige  Handelsnachrichten  kommen, 
da  das  bedeutende  Steigen  der  Seide-,  das  Fallen  der  Getreide-Preise 
und  die  allgemeine  Geschaftsstockung  und  Geldnoth;  bei  dem  Allem 
wollen  Sie  noch  Nachrichten  das  Judenthum  betrefiend? !  Entschul- 
digen  Sie,  ich  kann  damit  nicht  dienen,  doch  will  ich  Ihnen  die 
Zeitung  des  Judenthums  und  den  Orient  nachstens  per  Steamer 
senden;  hier  werden  sie  ohnedem  wenig  gelesen. 

Ihr  etc. 


Appendix  II 


Rabbis  Bernhard  Felsenthal^  Kaufmann  Kokler,  Liebmann  Adler,  and  Mr. 
Julius  Rosenthal,  all  of  Chicago,  to  Leopold  %unz* 

Chicago,  111.,  20.  Juli  1874. 
Herrn  Dr.  L.  Zunz  in  Berlin. 

Hochgeehrter  Herr ! 

Veranlasst  durch  Ihren  bevorstehenden  80.  Geburtstag  (am  10.  Aug. 
1874)  mochten  die  erg[ebenst]  U[nterzeichneten] ,  wenn  auch  durch 
ein  schwaches  Wort  bloss,  Ihnen  hiermit  die  herzlichsten  Gluckwunsche 
darbringen,  und  Ihnen  dadurch  ein  Zeugniss  ablegen,  dass  auch  in 
gar  weit  entlegenen  Gegenden  der  Erde  Leute  leben,  die  sich  dankbar 
als  Ihre  Schiller  erkennen  und  bekennen. 

Inniger  Dank  sei  dem  allgutigen  Gott,  der  Sie  uns  so  lange  geistig 
riistig  erhalten  hat,  und  der  Ihnen  die  Kraft  verliehen,  auch  im 
hohen  Greisenalter  noch  die  "Wissenschaft  des  Judenthums"  zu 
pflegen,  ihren  Inhalt  zu  vertiefen  und  zu  berichtigen,  ihre  Granzen 
zu  erweitern  und  auszudehnen.  Moge  Er,  der  Allvater,  Sie  noch 
recht  lange  uns  erhalten,  und  es  Ihnen  ermoglichen,  noch  viele,  viele 
Beitrage  zur  Weiterfuhrung  der  jxidpschen]  Wissenschaft  zu  liefern! 

Mit  der  vollsten  subjectivsten  Hingebung  und  mit  der  lautersten 
Objectivitat  in  der  Behandlung  Ihrer  Untersuchungen  haben  Sie, 

165 


GUIDO  KISGH 

hochgeehrter  Herr,  seit  mehr  denn  einem  halben  Jahrhundert  auf 
Ihrem  Spezialgebiet  erfolgreich  gearbeitet.  Sie  haben  gleichgesinnten 
Mitstrebenden  sowohl  wie  nachgebornen  Jiingern  den  Weg  und  das 
Ziel  gezeigtj  und  sich  als  Bahnbrecher  in  fruher  unbetretenen  Gebieten 
und  als  Herrscher  in  denselben  einen  Namen  erworben,  der  noch  in 
spaten  Jahrhunderten  mit  Ehre  und  Dank  genannt  werden  wird. 

Sie  haben  bereits  vor  56  Jahren  (1818)  "Etwas  iiber  die 
rabb[inische]  Literatur"  vielversprechend  veroffentlicht;  haben  1823 
durch  Ihre  "Zeitschrift"  den  Grund  gelegt  zur  "Wissenschaft  des 
Judenthums";  1832  durch  Ihr  klass[isches]  Werk  iiber  "Die  gottesd- 
[ienstlichen]  Vortrage  der  Juden"  Ordnung  und  Licht  in  ein  bis 
dahin  wirres  Chaos  gebracht;  1837  durch  Ihre  "Namen  der  Juden" 
Ihrem  eigenen  Namen  neuen  Anspruch  verliehen  darauf,  dass  sein 
Trager  in  Tiichtigkeit  und  Griindlichkeit  seiner  Forschungen  in  erster 
Reihe  stehe;  Sie  haben  ferner  1845  durch  Ihre  Schrift  "Zur  Geschichte 
und  Literatur"  das  Wissen  um  judische  Dinge  ganz  bedeutend  geklart 
und  gemehrt;  1855  durch  Ihre  "Synagogale  Poesie  des  Mittelalters," 
1859  durch  Ihre  "Ritus  des  synagogalen  Gottesdienstes,"  1865  durch 
Ihre  "Literaturgeschichte  der  synag[ogalen]  Poesie"  die  Kunde  und 
die  Erkenntniss  der  relig[iosen]  Poesie  Israels  fast  bis  zur  Vollendung 
gefuhrt;  und  haben  noch  vor  2  Jahren  (1872)  durch  ein  nach  den 
"Monatstagen  des  Kalenderjahres"  geordnetes  Verzeichniss  von 
Sterbetagen  einen  neuen  Beweis  geliefert  von  dem  unermudlichen 
Sammlerfleisse,  dem  ordnenden  Sinne,  und  der  allseitigen  Griind- 
lichkeit, die  Sie  in  Ihrer  ganzen  langen  literarpschen]  Laufbahn 
ausgezeichnet  haben.  Sie  haben  ferner  seit  vielen  Jahrzehnten  in 
verschiedenen  Zeitschriften  zerstreute  Abhandlungen  den  wissens- 
durstigen  Jiingern  dargeboten,  die  ganz  entschieden  bleibendes 
Interesse  haben,  wie  ja  jiingst  noch  in  der  Zeitschrift  der  Deutschen 
Morgenl[andischen]  Gesellschaft,  u.  s.  w. 

Und  wir,  Ihre  dankbaren  Schiiler,  die  wir  geschopft  aus  Ihrem 
Wissensborne,  die  wir  uns  so  oft  gelabt  an  der  geistigen  Nahrung,  die 
Sie  uns  bereitet,  —  wir  sollten  den  Tag  gleichgiiltig  und  gedankenlos 
voriiber  gehen  lassen,  an  dem  Sie  vor  80  Jahren  das  Licht  der  Welt 
erblickten?  — 

Nein,  das  konnen,  das  wollen  wir  nicht.  Wir  folgen  bloss  dem 
Drange  unserer  Herzen,  wenn  wir  Ihnen,  hochverehrter  Lehrer  und 
Mei$ter,  bei  dieser  Gelegenheit  ein  Wort  der  Anerkennung  und  der 
Dankbarkeit  aussprechen,  und  wenn  wir  in  Verbindung  damit 
wiederholt  dem  innig  empfundenen  Wunsche  Ausdruck  leihen,  dass 
es  Ihnen  noch  eine  lange  Reihe  von  Jahren  vergonnt  sein  moge, 

166 


FOUNDERS  OF      WISSENSCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS"  AND  AMERICA 

frisch,  riistig,  und  an  Ergebnissen  reich  das  Feld  der  jiidischen  Wissen- 
schaft  welter  anzubauen. 

In  Hochachtung  und  Ergebenheit  verharren,  hochgeehrter  Herr 
Doctor, 

Ihre  allezeit  dankbaren 
B.  FELSENTHAL 
K.  KOHLER 
LIEBMANN  ADLER 
JULIUS  ROSENTHAL 


Appendix  III 


Leopold  %unz  to  Rabbis  Felsenthal,  Kohler,  Adler,  and  Mr.  Rosenthal, 
all  of  Chicago. 

An  die  Herren  Dr.  Felsenthal,  Kohler,  Adler, 
Rosenthal  in  Chicago. 

Sehr  geehrte  Herren! 

Ihre  Gluckwiinsche  zum  10.  August  haben  mich  erfreut,  aber  Ihre 
iibertriebenen  Lobpreisungen  mich  beschamt;  wie  soil  man  von  den 
Helden  der  Literatur,  der  Astronomic,  der  Dichtkunst,  wie  (iberhaupt 
von  denen  reden,  die  mit  Thaten  und  Schriften  der  Menschheit 
fuhrend  und  leuchtend  vorangeschritten,  wenn  ein  so  kleines  Licht 
so  gepriesen  und  geschmeichelt  wird?  Und  grade  jetzt  fuhle  ich 
Staub  meine  Ohnmacht;  acht  Tage  nach  dem  Eingange  Ihres 
Schreibens  starb  in  meinen  Armen  meine  geliebte  Frau,  mit  der  ich 
52  Jahre  und  100  Tage  in  glucklicher  Ehe  gelebt:  mein  Stolz  und 
meine  Liebe  sanken  in  das  Grab  und  hinterliessen  mir  nur  Thranen. 
Wenn  mir  im  Leben  Ehre  und  Beifall  zu  Theil  geworden,  hat  es  mich 
mehr  um  meiner  seligen  Frau  als  um  meinetwillen  erfreut;  ach, 
das  ist  nun  alles  auf  immer  dahin!  In  mein  Buch  "Die  Sterbetage" 
muss  nun  fiir  den  18.  August  auch  der  Name  meiner  Adelheid  einge- 
ruckt  werden. 

Sie  sehen,  meine  Herren,  dass  ich  jetzt  wenig  geschickt  zu  einer 
belehrenden    oder   unterhaltenden    Correspondenz    bin;    von   einer 

167 


GUIDO  KISGH 

einzigen  Empfindung  in  Besitz  genommen,  straubt  sich  das  Gemiith 
gegen  den  freien  Gebrauch  seiner  Krafte.  Daher  wird  es  gerathen 
seyn,  diese  Klage-Schrift  zu  beendigen,  und  indem  ich  nochmals  fur 
Ihre  liebenswerthe  Freundlichkeit  meinen  Dank  ausspreche,  fuge  ich 
noch  den  Wunsch  hinzu,  dass  Sie  und  die  Ihnen  nahe  stehen  gesund 
und  glucklich  bleiben.  n*a»  rWD  1J7 

Hochachtungsvoll  und  ergebenst 

Zunz 

Berlin,  24.  August  1874 
Auguststrasse  60 


Appendix  IV 

Heinrich  Graetz  to  Mr.  Ben  W.  Austin,  Dallas. 

Breslau  28  Febr.  1890 
Dear  Sir, 

I  beg  to  express  my  deepest  gratitude  for  the  honour  your  Society 
has  bestowed  on  me,  electing  me  their  honorary  member.  According 
to  your  wisch,  I  send  my  portrait.  Now  you  would  not  have  any  use 
of  my  literary  works,  as  all  of  them  are  written  in  German.  I  schall 
take  the  honour  to  send  the  englisch  translation  of  my  "History  of 
the  Jews,"  as  soon  as  it  will  be  completely  finisched. 

Very  thankfully 
Yours 

Prof.  DR.  H.  GRAETZ 
Mr.  Ben  W, 
Austin 
Dallas 


168 


FOUNDERS  OF  "WISSEN.SCHAFT  DES  JUDENTUMS5'  AND  AMERICA 

Appendix  V 

Moritz  Steinschneider  to  Bernkard  FelsenthaL 


Rosenstr.  2. 
Berlin  5.  II.  [i8]8s 


Sehr  geehrter  Herr! 


Von  der  H\ebraisckeri\  B[ibliographie]  istN.  1 25  im  December  erschienen, 
N.  126  soil  in  8  Tagen  erscheinen,  fur  die  Regelmassigkeit  bemiihe 
ich  mich  vergebens  durch  meine  punktliche  Arbeit  —  obwohl  ich 
jetzt  mit  einer  grossen  Arbeit  liber  die  hebr[aischen]  Ubersetzungen 
des  Mittelalters  beschaftigt  bin,  was  aber  unter  uns  bleibt.  In  folge 
dessen  ist  auch  das  Supplement]  zu  Benjacob  nur  bis  Ende 
Buchst[aben]  K  redigiert.  Auf  Manuscripte  nehme  ich  natiirlich 
Riicksicht;  ich  hatte  Benjacob  gerathen,  Manuscripte  iiberhaupt 
nicht  aufzunehmen,  da  ihm  selbst  die  wichtigsten  Gatalfoge]  nicht 
zuganglich  waren.  Schriften  nach  1862  sind  ausgeschlossen  (mit 
wenigen  Ausnahmen).  ^59?  '»  liest  auch  mein  Catalog.  — Jiidpsche] 
Typographic]  in  Ersch  und  Grfuber]  ist  in  der  III.  Section  des 
Gatal.  Bodl.  vollstandig  umgearbeitet.  Ich  wurde  mebie  Vorlesungen 
xiber  judfische]  Handschriftenkunde  und  manches  Andere  herausgeben, 
wenn  ich  Zuhorer  hatte,  die  Zeit  und  Lust  haben  zu  helfen.  Ich  leite 
eine  Schule  von  350  Schiilerinnen  und  unterrichte  taglich  2  Vor- 
mittagsstunden,  bin  auch  bald  67  Jahre  alt.  —  Durch  Mitteilungen 
liber  amerikanpsche]  Schriften,  welche  bisher  nicht  im  TDTDrr 
vorkamen,  werden  Sie  verbinden  Ihren 

erg[ebenen] 

M.  STEINSGHNEIDER 

Mochten  Sie  vielleicht  in  einem  amerik[anischen]  Blatte  Autoren 
veranlassen,  mir  Recenspons]-  Exemplare  zu  schicken. 

Herrn  Dr.  Felsenthal 
in  Chicago,  111. 
237  S.  Desplaines  St 


169 


GUIDO  KISGH 


Appendix  VI 

Moritz  Steinschneider  to  Bernhard  FelsenthaL 

Rosenstrasse  2.   5.  VIII.  [i8]84. 
Sehr  geehrter  Herr ! 

Ich  werde  nicht  verfehlen,  Ihre  Gratulation  an  Zunz  am  10.  personlich 
zu  ubergeben.  Ich  hatte  schon  langst  Ihr  freundlpches  Schreiben] 
vom  29.  VI.  beantwortet,  wenn  nicht  amtliche  u[nd]  personliche 
Riicksichten  meinen  schriftlichen  Verkehr  gehemmt  batten,  unter 
Anderm  muss  ich  taglich  einer  Trauerbotschaft  entgegensehen.  Mein 
Sohn  Albert,  den  Sie  in  Cleveland  gesehen  habe[n],  leidet  an  unheil- 
barer  Schwindsucht,  er  ist  augenblicklich  in  der  Wasserheilanstalt 
meines  Vetters  Dr.  Alois  Brecher  in  Eichwald.  Gott  behiite  Sie  u[nd] 
die  Ihren  vor  Triibsal!  —  Seit  n.  126  ist  von  Town  nichts  erschienen, 
und  wenn  ich  ihn  1885  wieder  fortsetzen  sollte,  so  wird  er  nicht  bei 
Benzian  erscheinen,  der  ihn  systematise!!  verschlemilt  hat.  Ich  habe 
Ihnen  fiir  verschiedene  Zusendungen  zu  danken,  die  ich  seiner  Zeit 
benutzen  werde.  Augenblicklich  bin  ich  mit  einer  grosseren  Arbeit 
beschaftigt,  die  bis  December  fertig  sein  muss  und  mich  von  allem 
Anderen  abzieht.  Ihnen  zu  antworten  rechne  ich  mir  zur  Pflicht,  und 
zeichne  in  aufrichtiger  Gewogenheit  und  Hochachtung 

M.  STEINSCHNEIDER 
An  Dr.  B.  Felsenthal 
in  Chicago 

237  South  Desplaines  Street 
Amerika. 


170 


Some  Conclusions  About  Rebecca  Gratz 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 


XXEBECCA  GRATZ  remains  one  of  the  distinguished 
personages  of  American  Jewish  history.  She  was  well-known 
and  respected  in  her  generation  and,  even  today,  stands  out  as 
a  figure  of  some  importance  among  American  Jewish  women. 
In  spite  of  her  rather  high  contemporary  evaluation,  Rebecca 
Gratz  was  not  a  great  woman.  This  conclusion  is  based  on  an 
intensive  study  of  her  correspondence,  of  which  some  fifteen 
hundred  letters  are  extant,  as  well  as  on  other  contemporary 
sources,  including  congregational  and  organizational  records. 
Her  position  in  her  home  community  of  Philadelphia  and  in 
American  Judaism  at  large  is  firmly  based  on  fact,  while  her 
popular  position  is  founded,  for  the  most  part,  on  the  unverified 
and  probably  unverifiable  allegation  that  she  was  the  prototype 
of  Sir  Walter  Scott's  Rebecca,  the  Jewish  heroine  of  Ivanhoe. 
She  was  not  a  great  person,  for  her  accomplishments  were 
significant  neither  in  the  realm  of  ideas  nor  in  the  realm  of 
social  innovation.  Her  importance  rests  on  two  facts:  she 

Dr.  Joseph  R.  Rosenbloom  is  the  spiritual  leader  of  Congregation  Adath  Israel, 
Lexington,  Ky. 

This  essay  epitomizes  the  author's  doctoral  dissertation,  "And  She  Had  Compas- 
sion: The  Life  and  Times  of  Rebecca  Gratz,"  written  in  January,  1957,  under 
Dr.  Jacob  R.  Marcus  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College -Jewish  Institute  of  Religion  in 
Cincinnati.  The  original  dissertation  was  based  on  a  study  of  Rebecca  Gratz's 
manuscript  letters,  both  published  and  unpublished,  found  in  the  following  depos- 
itories: The  American  Jewish  Historical  Society,  The  Library  of  Congress,  the 
Library  of  the  University  of  North  Carolina,  the  New  York  Historical  Society, 
and  the  Henry  Joseph  Collection  at  the  American  Jewish  Archives. 

171 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

introduced  into  her  particular  religious  group  needed  institu- 
tions which  had  previously  been  established  in  the  general 
community ;  and,  as  current  research  attests,  she  stood  practically 
alone  as  an  American  Jewish  woman  of  prominence  in  her 
century. 


Miss  Gratz  was  a  native-born  daughter  of  one  of  American 
Jewry's  most  prominent  families.  The  Gratzes  had  been  well- 
known  and  prosperous  merchants  and  landholders  in  eighteenth- 
century  America.  Rebecca's  father,  Michael,  and  her  uncle, 
Barnard  Gratz,  were  among  the  founders  of  Philadelphia's 
first  synagogue,  Mikveh  Israel.  Her  brothers  were  active  in 
the  political,  cultural,  and  economic  affairs  of  that  city  over  a 
period  of  many  decades.  If,  as  a  family,  they  did  not  attain 
greatness,  they  did  represent  Jews  who  were  well  integrated 
into,  and  accepted  by,  the  most  socially  prominent  elements  of 
the  Philadelphia  community.  The  Gratzes  became  a  symbol 
of  gentility  and  acceptability  for  American  Jewry.  Rebecca 
Gratz,  the  only  outstanding  woman  of  her  family,  became  the 
feminine  symbol,  not  only  for  the  Gratz  family  and  for  Phila- 
delphia Jewry,  but  for  all  American  Jewry  during  her  lifetime. 
Her  fame  resulted,  to  a  considerable  extent,  from  the  absence 
of  others  to  fill  the  r61e  which  she  assumed  —  a  r6le  which  had 
to  be  filled  by  a  lesser  personage,  since  a  greater  one  did  not 
live  or  had  not  yet  been  discovered.  The  wealth  of  material 
concerning  Rebecca  Gratz  has  made  her  easily  "discoverable." 
Miss  Gratz's  prime  interest,  throughout  her  lifetime,  was 
her  immediate  family.  To  a  lesser  degree,  she  was  concerned 
with  her  home  community.  She  evinced  little  interest  in  the 
greater  issues  of  her  time  except  as  they  affected  her  family. 
She  was  born  at  the  very  beginning  of  the  national  period  of 
the  United  States,  and  her  span  of  years  included  the  Civil 

172 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  GRATZ 

War,  the  greatest  crisis  through  which  America  had  yet  passed. 
While  no  person  is  an  island  unto  himself,  Rebecca  Gratz 
managed,  from  all  appearances,  to  remain  quite  removed  from 
most  of  the  vital  international  and  national  events  of  her  day. 

During  the  eighty-eight  years  of  her  lifetime  (1781-1869), 
Europe  experienced  the  French  Revolution,  the  rise  and  fall 
of  Napoleon,  and  the  struggle  between  liberalism  and  reaction. 
Rebecca  Gratz  was  only  a  child  of  eight  when  the  Bastille  fell. 
Still,  it  is  noteworthy  that  the  climactic  events  of  the  French 
Revolution  found  no  mention  in  her  letters.  Nor  was  there  a 
word  about  Napoleon  Bonaparte,  although  she  did  speak  of 
the  Bonapartes,  Joseph  and  his  family,  who  resided  briefly  in 
Philadelphia  after  Napoleon's  fall.  Nothing,  moreover,  in  her 
letters  reflects  the  furor  caused  in  1850  by  America's  commercial 
treaty  with  a  Switzerland  which  refused  to  exempt  American 
Jews  from  the  anti-Jewish  restrictions  prevalent  at  the  time  in 
the  Swiss  cantons.  There  was,  furthermore,  in  her  letters  no 
echo  of  the  notorious  Mortara  affair  of  1858,  an  affair  in  which 
Edgar  Mortara,  a  Jewish  child  of  Bologna,  Italy,  was  abducted 
and  baptized  with  the  approval  of  papal  authorities. 

Rebecca  Gratz's  lifetime  also  covered  a  period  of  tremendous 
national  growth  and  development  in  America.  The  country 
spread,  during  those  years,  from  the  East  coast  to  the  West, 
and  from  Canada  to  Mexico,  The  American  population  in- 
creased from  4,000,000  to  almost  50,000,000;  the  Republic 
was  involved  in  three  major  wars:  the  War  of  1812,  the  Mexican 
War,  and  the  Civil  War.  Other  issues  of  wide-reaching  signif- 
icance were  raised  at  this  time:  territorial  rights;  new  states  and 
slavery;  the  development,  growth,  and  decline  of  many  great 
national  political  parties,  such  as  the  disappearance  of  the 
Federalists,  the  decline  of  the  Whigs,  the  growth  of  the  Dem- 
ocratic party,  the  rise  of  the  Republican  party  and  of  the 
American  (or  "Know  Nothing")  party;  the  troubles  on  the 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

Barbary  coast;  the  great  growth  in  industry  and  commerce; 
and  the  abolitionist  movement. 

While  Rebecca  Gratz  was  surely  affected  by  these  devel- 
opments, her  anxiety  over  them  was  peripheral  and  superficial, 
limited  to  their  immediate  effect  upon  her  family,  friends,  and 
community.  This  was  exemplified,  on  the  national  scene,  by 
her  concern  over  the  affairs  of  Henry  Clay  who,  as  a  rather 
close  friend  of  Benjamin,  her  brother  in  Lexington,  Kentucky, 
appeared  frequently  in  her  correspondence.  In  contrast,  one 
looks  in  vain  for  any  mention  of  Abraham  Lincoln  in  the  same 
correspondence.  Neither  the  abolitionist  movement  nor  the 
battle  for  women's  rights  attracted  her  attention  to  any  signif- 
icant degree.  Miss  Gratz3 s  lack  of  involvement  in  most  of  the 
vital  interests  and  developments  of  her  time  deprived  her  of 
any  imposing  historical  importance. 

On  rare  occasions,  she  did  succeed,  to  be  sure,  in  transcending 
the  parochial  limits  which  her  life  and  character  had  imposed 
on  her.  Such  an  occasion  was  the  anti-Catholic  rioting  in 
Philadelphia  in  1844,  rioting  in  which  dozens  of  people  were 
killed  or  maimed.  Miss  Gratz  wrote  at  that  time  to  her  brother 
Benjamin  in  Lexington,  Kentucky,  that 

the  present  outbreak  is  an  attack  on  the  Catholic  Church,  and  there 
is  so  much  violent  animosity  between  that  sect  and  the  Protestants 
that  unless  the  strong  arm  of  power  is  raised  to  sustain  the  provisions 
of  the  Constitution  of  the  U.  S.,  securing  to  every  citizen  the  privilege 
of  worshipping  God  according  to  his  own  conscience,  America  will 
be  no  longer  the  happy  asylum  of  the  oppressed  and  the  secure  dwelling 
place  of  religion.  Intolerance  has  been  too  prevalent  of  late,  and 
many  of  the  clergy  of  different  denominations  are  chargable  with  its 
growth.  The  whole  spirit  and  office  of  religion  is  to  make  men  merciful 
and  humble  and  just.  If  such  teaching  was  preached  by  the  pastors  to 
their  own  congregations  and  the  charge  of  others  left  to  their  own 
clergy,  God  would  be  better  served  and  human  society  governed  more 
in  accordance  to  His  holy  commandments. 


174 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  GRATZ 

Such  eloquence  on  her  part  was,  however,  as  we  have  said, 
exceedingly  rare. 

It  was  her  role  in  the  Jewish  community  of  Philadelphia  — 
a  r61e  which,  of  course,  affected  many  other  American 
Jews  —  that  gave  Rebecca  Gratz  the  importance  that  she 
had.  She  merits  mention  in  general  American  history  only 
by  virtue  of  her  position  as  one  of  the  few  outstanding  Jewesses 
whom  this  country  had  produced.  Her  historical  importance, 
therefore,  must  be  recognized  in  relative,  rather  than  in  absolute, 
terms. 

To  what  do  we  owe  Rebecca  Gratz's  impressive  and  signif- 
icant r&le,  even  in  this  limited  sense?  Her  significance  emanated 
from  two  facets  of  her  life:  her  social  position  in  the  Jewish  and 
non-Jewish  communities,  and  her  accomplishments,  which  had 
their  most  direct  effect  on  the  Jewish  community  of  her  city. 
The  social  life  of  the  Jewish  community  of  Philadelphia  in  the 
early  decades  of  Miss  Gratz's  life  centered  chiefly  about  one 
institution  —  the  Sephardic  synagogue,  Mikveh  Israel.  Here  the 
Gratz  family's  involvement  was  almost  as  old  as  the  congrega- 
tion itself,  and  here  the  Gratzes  enjoyed  great  prominence. 
Rebecca's  father  and  uncle,  Michael  and  Barnard,  served  as 
officers  as  well  as  members  of  the  congregation's  Board.  Her 
brother,  Simon,  was  a  member  of  the  Board  as  early  as  1810, 
and  another  brother,  Hyman,  held  an  official  position  in  the 
congregation  for  more  than  forty  years.  The  Gratzes'  activity 
in  the  affairs  of  the  synagogue,  together  with  their  relative 
economic  well-being  and  their  relationship  with  the  non-Jewish 
community,  assured  them  social  prominence  among  their 
coreligionists. 

Rebecca  Gratz's  status  and  the  range  of  her  contacts  in  the 
non-Jewish  community  were  also  impressive.  They  included 
every  phase  of  Philadelphia's  most  distinguished  society.  Her 
activity  in  this  realm  depended,  to  a  large  degree,  on  her 

175 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

brothers,  themselves  active  in  both  cultural  and  political  circles. 
Joseph  Gratz  was  particularly  interested  in  politics.  Jacob  Gratz 
was  one  of  the  first  directors  of  the  Philadelphia  Athenaeum, 
founded  in  1814,  and  delivered  the  first  report  to  its  Board  oi 
Directors.  Among  its  other  founders  were  such  outstanding 
Philadelphia  leaders  as  William  Tilghman,  Chief  Justice  of  the 
Pennsylvania  Supreme  Court;  James  Mease,  the  famous  physi- 
cian; Thomas  I.  Wharton,  a  noted  lawyer  and  author;  and 
Nicholas  Biddle,  later  the  president  of  the  Bank  of  the  United 
States  and  Andrew  Jackson's  bete  noire.  Hyman  and  Simon 
Gratz  were  among  the  earliest  subscribers  to  the  Academy  oi 
Fine  Arts.  An  early  list  containing  their  names  includes  also 
those  of  Thomas  Jefferson  and  another  Revolutionary  political 
leader,  Francis  Hopkinson.  Hyman  was  director  of  the  Academy 
from  1836  to  1857,  its  treasurer  from  1841  to  1857,  and,  finally, 
its  president.  By  means  of  such  associations  Rebecca  Gratz 
was  enabled  to  play  a  notable  part  in  community  affairs.  She 
participated,  for  example,  in  the  fund-raising  program  for  the 
rebuilding  of  the  Fine  Arts  Academy,  which  had  been  destroyed 
by  fire.  Her  associates  in  this  work  included  Mrs.  George 
MifHin  Dallas,  whose  husband  was  a  Vice  President  of  the 
United  States,  a  United  States  Senator,  and  a  mayor  of  Phila- 
delphia. She  was  friendly  also  with  Mrs.  Henry  Dilwood  Gilpin, 
whose  husband  served  as  a  United  States  Attorney  General. 
Another  close  friend  was  Mrs.  William  Meredith,  wife  of  a 
prominent  lawyer  and  bank  president. 

Early  in  her  life,  Rebecca  Gratz's  activities  in  charitable 
institutions  brought  her  into  contact  with  other  outstanding 
Philadelphia  families.  In  her  twenties,  she  was  already  interested 
in  Philadelphia's  Female  Association  for  the  Relief  of  Women 
and  Children  in  Reduced  Circumstances  and  in  the  Orphan 
Society,  or  Asylum.  With  her  on  the  Board  of  the  Female 
Association  were  eight  other  Jewish  women,  and  she  served  as 
176 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  GRATZ 

secretary  of  this  organization  for  a  time.  Far  more  energy  was 
expended  by  her  on  the  Orphan  Society,  a  group  associated 
with  one  of  the  most  fashionable  and  influential  churches  of 
Philadelphia,  the  Second  Presbyterian.  Rebecca  Gratz  served 
as  a  Board  member  of  the  Orphan  Society  from  its  inception 
in  1814,  and  was  its  secretary  from  1819  until  her  death  in 
1869. 

Miss  Gratz's  work  with  important  Philadelphia  charities  also 
brought  her  into  contact  with  a  number  of  distinguished  per- 
sonages: Mrs.  John  Sergeant,  whose  husband  was  a  leading 
Philadelphia  lawyer  and  a  congressman;  the  family  of  Prince 
Achille  Murat;  Dr.  John  Syng  Dorsey,  a  prominent  physician; 
Dr.  James  Rush,  author  and  physician;  and  the  prominent 
Unitarian  clergyman,  the  Reverend  William  Henry  Furness. 
Particularly  in  her  youth,  Miss  Gratz  maintained  many  close 
and  cherished  friendships  with  literary  figures.  Her  closest  friend 
in  her  late  teens  and  early  twenties  was  Maria  Fenno,  daughter 
of  John  Fenno,  a  prominent  newspaper  publisher.  The  two 
girls  enjoyed  the  company  of  such  promising  literati  as  Wash- 
ington Irving;  Joseph  Dennie,  the  first  editor  of  The  Port  Folio ; 
Samuel  Ewing;  John  E.  Hall;  Gouverneur  Kemble;  James  K. 
Paulding;  Henry  Brevoort;  Thomas  I.  Wharton;  and  Joseph 
Hopkinson.  From  these  friendships  developed  several  of  the 
most  interesting,  if  exaggerated,  aspects  of  the  Rebecca  Gratz 
story.  Samuel  Ewing,  who  quite  seriously  entertained  literary 
ambitions,  but  ultimately  became  a  fairly  successful  attorney, 
is  generally  and  frequently  identified  as  the  object  of  Rebecca 
Gratz's  only  romance,  a  romance  which  was  presumedly 
thwarted  by  their  religious  differences.  While  there  is  no  indica- 
tion of  a  close  relationship  with  any  man  other  than  Ewing, 
there  is  very  little  evidence  to  support  the  supposed  intensity  of 
their  relationship.  We  have  no  proof  that  they  were  in  love, 
and  we  find  no  intimation  of  Rebecca's  having  rejected  Ewing  — 

177 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

or  having  had  the  occasion  to^reject  him  —  on  any  grounds  at 
all,  religious  or  otherwise. 

Washington  Irving  is  the  central  figure  in  the  oft-repeated 
legend  that  Rebecca  Gratz  was  the  prototype  of  Sir  Walter 
Scott's  Rebecca  of  York,  the  beautiful  Jewess  in  his  novel, 
Ivanhoe.  While  this  identification  was  made  by  friends  of  Rebecca 
Gratz  at  the  time  of  the  publication  of  the  book,  there  is,  again, 
nothing  to  substantiate  such  a  claim.  The  tradition  that  the 
fictional  Rebecca  of  York  is  to  be  identified  with  the  historical 
Rebecca  of  Philadelphia  arose  from  the  friendship  between 
Irving  and  Scott  Washington  Irving  met  with  Scott  in  1818. 
It  is  assumed  that,  at  this  time,  Scott  was  planning  Ivanhoe. 
When,  as  the  legend  would  have  it,  Irving  told  him  about 
Rebecca  Gratz  and  her  romance  with  Samuel  Ewing,  a  non-Jew, 
Scott  made  a  central  figure  of  the  Jewess,  based  her  on  Miss 
Gratz,  and  incorporated  her  into  his  book.  We  find,  however, 
nothing  in  the  letters  of  Miss  Gratz  and  nothing  in  the  writings 
of  either  Scott  or  Irving  to  lend  any  truth  to  this  legend.  Yet  it  is 
for  this  reason  that  Rebecca  Gratz  is  best  known. 

It  was  through  Rebecca  Gratz  that  Thomas  Sully,  a  contem- 
porary artist,  was  introduced  to  Philadelphia,  at  the  request  of 
Washington  Irving,  their  mutual  friend.  Miss  Gratz's  friendship 
with  Sully  extended  over  several  decades,  and  in  1834  Miss 
Gratz  sought  to  aid  Sully's  son  to  find  employment  as  a  portrait 
painter  in  Kentucky* 

Miss  Gratz's  social  circle  was  among  the  finest  in  Philadelphia. 
Her  associates  had  respect  and  appreciation  for  her,  and  accepted 
her  as  a  Jewess  who  was  proud  of  her  heritage.  On  occasion, 
her  hostesses  would  take  special  pains  to  serve  food  which  was 
in  keeping  with  the  Jewish  dietary  laws.  Such  a  social  position 
in  the  non-Jewish  community  served  to  maintain  her  stature 
among  her  Jewish  friends.  This  station  tended  also  to  ease  the 
integration  of  other  Jews  into  Philadelphia  society,  Rebecca 

178 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  GRATZ 

Gratz  having  presented  a  fine  and  dignified  example  of  the 
cultured  Jewess.  v 

Miss  Grate's  communal  efforts  were,  for  the  most  part,  con- 
centrated in  the  Jewish  community.  A  major  exception  was  her 
devoted  service  to  the  Orphan  Society.  Her  efforts  in  communal 
activities,  particularly  among  Jews,  increased  as  she  grew  older 
and  withdrew  more  and  more  from  the  social  life  of  her  city. 
Within  the  Jewish  community,  she  was  the  leading  force  in  a 
whole  series  of  communal  enterprises.  Here  she  served  as  the 
motivator  and  rallying  point  about  which  a  necessary  organiza- 
tion could  come  into  being.  Through  her  efforts  directly,  and 
through  others,  the  Female  Hebrew  Benevolent  Society,  the 
Jewish  Foster  Home,  the  Hebrew  Sunday  School,  and  the  Sewing 
and  Fuel  Societies  were  initiated,  filling  hitherto  unattended 
needs  of  the  Jewish  community.  To  each  of  these  institutions 
she  brought  extensive  prior  experience.  We  may  be  sure  that 
these  organizations  met  much  resistance,  as  people  in  those  days 
were  loath  to  spend  money  for  social-welfare  purposes.  It  was 
only  after  seven  years  of  urging  that  the  Jewish  Foster  Home 
came  into  being.  When  it  was  finally  established  in  1855, 
Rebecca  Gratz  at  seventy-four  was  still  considered  vigorous 
enough  to  be  offered  the  position  of  its  First  Directress.  This 
she  declined,  accepting  that  of  Second  Directress. 

Through  the  efforts  of  Rebecca  Gratz,  the  Jewish  community 
not  only  became  aware  of  its  communal  responsibilities,  but 
also  actually  strove  to  fulfill  them-  Philadelphia's  growth  pre- 
sented many  problems,  due  particularly  to  the  ever-increasing 
immigrant  population.  The  Quakers  had  long  ago  set  an 
excellent  pattern  of  communal  responsibility,  a  model  which 
was  to  guide  many  other  religious  groups.  The  relation  of  the 
Jewish  Foster  Home  to  the  Orphan  Society  is  as  readily  apparent 
as  that  of  the  Female  Hebrew  Benevolent  Society  to  the  Female 
Association  for  the  Relief  of  Women  and  Children  in  Reduced 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

Circumstances,  an  organization  in  which  Rebecca  Gratz  was 
also  active,  as  we  have  noted.  It  is  apparent,  therefore,  that  her 
contribution  as  an  innovator  was  limited.  She  put  into  practice 
in  the  Jewish  community  those  patterns  which  were  already  in 
operation  in  the  general  community  —  endeavors  in  which  she 
had  taken  a  considerable  and  significant  part.  Her  own  major 
contribution  was  her  ability  to  extend  to  Jewish  communal  needs 
her  notable  leadership  and  almost  endless  energy  and  resource- 
fulness. This  was  true,  too,  of  her  accomplishment  in  establishing 
a  Sunday  School  for  the  Jewish  children  of  Philadelphia. 

The  Sunday  School  movement  had  been  initiated  in  the 
non-Jewish  community  to  educate  poor  working-class  children 
who  had  no  other  opportunity  for  general  educational  and 
religious  training.  Somewhat  later,  the  movement  changed  its 
emphasis  and  sought  to  combat  the  secularizing  tendency  of 
the  day  schools  as  they  came  more  and  more  under  public 
control.  The  establishment  of  a  Jewish  Sunday  School  was 
undertaken  in  1838  by  Rebecca  Gratz  because  no  one  else  in 
Philadelphia  was  adequately  fulfilling  the  religious  needs  of 
Jewish  children,  Isaac  Leeser's  attempt  in  1835  to  establish  a 
Jewish  day  school  having  proved  too  ambitious  for  success. 
Moreover,  a  school  conducted  for  two  or  three  hours  every 
Sunday  was  more  in  consonance  with  the  prevalent  non-Jewish 
pattern  of  religious  education.  Other  similarities  between  Miss 
Gratz's  Sunday  School  and  the  non-Jewish  Sunday  schools  were 
apparent  in  that  both  provided  for  children  on  a  community- 
wide  basis,  without  cost  to  the  children  or  to  their  families  and 
without  denominational  affiliation.  In  time,  to  be  sure,  the 
Christian  Sunday  schools  became  affiliated  with  denominations, 
or  were  established  by  denominations,  but  the  school  founded 
by  Rebecca  Gratz  remained  open  to  any  Jewish  child  in  the 
city  and  never  limited  its  enrollment  to  the  children  of  a  partic- 
ular Jewish  congregation. 

180 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  GRATZ 

While  the  Christian  Sunday  School  movement  is  generally 
acknowledged  as  having  originated  in  England,  its  center  for 
many  years  in  the  United  States  was  Philadelphia.  Rebecca 
Gratz  was  quite  frank  about  her  dependence  upon  the  Christian 
Sunday  school  pattern  and,  for  a  time,  when  no  Jewish  textbooks 
were  available,  she  was  forced  to  use  at  least  one  of  the  Christian 
Sunday  school  textbooks.  In  the  area  of  education,  as  in  other 
areas,  she  perceived  a  serious  need  in  the  Jewish  community, 
and  she  set  out  to  fill  it.  The  established  congregations  were 
not  providing  for  the  education  of  their  children,  nor  for  those 
whose  parents  could  afford  neither  congregational  affiliation 
nor  private  tutors.  In  1818,  her  first  attempt,  its  nature  hazy 
and  its  basis  limited,  proved  to  be  abortive.  Only  one  of  her 
letters  referring  to  the  school  is  extant.  She  did  succeed,  however, 
twenty  years  later.  It  is  interesting  to  note  her  advanced  age  at 
the  time  when  she  undertook  the  responsibility  of  this  new  and 
exacting  venture.  Not  only  was  she  instrumental  in  establishing 
and  directing  this  school  for  many  years,  but  she  also  stimulated 
the  production  of  textbooks  for  Jewish  children.  Her  efforts  led 
directly  to  the  establishment  of  similar  schools  in  Charleston, 
Savannah,  New  York,  and,  probably,  Richmond. 

Religion  in  general  and  Judaism  in  particular  constituted 
an  intimate  part  of  Rebecca  Gratz5  s  daily  existence.  Association 
with  the  synagogue  was  a  deeply  ingrained  trait  of  her  family, 
a  family  which  had  been  instrumental  in  establishing  and 
sustaining  Congregation  Mikveh  Israel  in  its  formative  years. 
Miss  Gratz  followed  the  traditional  interpretation  of  Judaism. 
She  observed  the  dietary  laws  not  only  at  home,  but  also  when 
dining  with  others,  and  her  Gentile  friends,  out  of  respect  to 
this  lady,  served  foods  which  would  not  be  offensive  to  her. 
She  was  punctilious  in  the  observance  of  the  Jewish  holidays, 
and  looked  forward  with  joy  to  those  occasions  on  which  the 
members  of  her  family  might  come  together.  The  Sabbath, 

181 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

too,  was  observed  traditionally,  and  Rebecca  Gratz  refrained 
from  writing  and  engaging  in  many  other  activities. 

The  extensive  correspondence  with  her  Christian  sister-in-law, 
Maria  Gist  Gratz,  Benjamin's  first  wife,  illustrates  Rebecca 
Gratz's  deep  appreciation  for  other  religions.  She  was  quite 
liberal  in  her  approach  to  Christianity,  although  she  would 
countenance  no  weakening  of  traditional  Judaism.  The  slacken- 
ing observance  of  Jewish  practices  in  her  day  distressed  her,  as 
did  the  development  of  "unorthodox"  Jewish  practices  at 
Charleston's  Congregation  Beth  Elohim  in  1824.  As  under- 
standing as  she  was  of  the  diversity  of  religious  expression  in 
America,  she,  nevertheless,  vigorously  opposed  attempts  at 
converting  Jews  to  Christianity.  Frequently  she  noted  occasions 
when  persons  tried  to  convert  her.  Her  response  was  a  pride  in 
her  own  religion  and,  not  infrequently,  a  contempt  for  persons 
who  sought  to  convert  others. 

Part  of  Rebecca  Gratz's  fervor  and  devotion  for  Judaism  is 
seen  in  her  intense  opposition  to  intermarriage.  When  Benjamin, 
her, youngest  brother,  announced  his  intention  to  marry  Maria 
Gist,  of  Lexington,  Kentucky,  Rebecca  made  known  in  definite 
terms  her  opposition  to  the  match,  because  of  the  couple's 
religious  differences.  She  felt  that  such  a  dissimilarity  between 
mates  might  offend  one  or  both  partners,  that  it  demanded  too 
great  a  sacrifice  from  the  partner  who  felt  obliged  to  abandon 
or  de-emphasize  his  or  her  former  religion.  She  feared,  too,  the 
deleterious  effect  upon  the  children  of  such  unions.  Her  views 
on  this  subject  did  not  thwart  Benjamin  Gratz's  choice,  for 
both  of  his  wives  (he  married  Ann  Boswell  after  Maria  died) 
were  Christians  and  all  his  children  were  reared  as  Christians, 
although  Benjamin  himself  never  converted  to  Christianity. 
Miss  Gratz,  a§  we  have  indicated  above,  appears  finally  to  have 
accepted  the  marriage  to  Maria  Gist  and  to  have  cultivated 
Maria's  friendship. 

182 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  ORATZ 

Intermarriage  was  not  foreign  to  other  members  of  her 
immediate  family.  Her  mother's  sister,  Shinah  Simon,  married 
Dr.  Nicholas  Schuyler.  Simon  Gratz,  her  eldest  brother,  also 
married  or  at  least  lived  with  a  Christian  woman.  His  children 
appear  to  have  been  reared  as  Christians,  although  Louisa,  one 
of  his  daughters,  embraced  Judaism  in  1851.  Another  of  his 
daughters,  Mary,  was  denied  burial  in  the  Mikveh  Israel 
cemetery,  since  she  was  not  considered  to  have  been  a  practicing 
Jewess.  Throughout  her  lifetime,  Miss  Gratz's  opposition  to 
intermarriage  remained  strong.  With  reference,  however,  to  her 
brothers5  relationships  with  non-Jewish  women,  she  did  have 
the  grace  to  make  the  best  of  a  situation  about  which  there  was 
actually  nothing  she  could  do. 

In  matters  of  theology,  too,  Rebecca  Gratz  conformed  to  the 
traditional  Jewish  views.  She  accepted  the  concept  of  im- 
mortality as  the  reward  of  a  loving  God.  God,  for  her,  was  an 
ever-present  force,  guiding  and  comforting  those  who  believed 
in  Him.  All  things,  for  her,  had  their  source  in  God,  and  her 
willingness  to  accept  what  life  brought  her  made  her  something 
of  a  fatalist.  All  things  happened,  she  believed,  because  God 
willed  them  —  this  made  acceptance  of  disappointment  and 
misfortune  relatively  simple  for  her. 

In  general,  Rebecca  Gratz's  thoughts  on  religion  and  philos- 
ophy contained  no  great  profundities  and  no  solution  to  any 
of  the  traditional  or  historical  philosophical  problems.  Hers 
was  a  homey,  rather  pedestrian  type  of  investigation  into  those 
facts  and  principles  of  reality,  of  human  nature  and  human 
conduct,  which  came  within  the  purview  of  her  own  personal 
experience.  It  was,  to  an  extent,  a  form  of  rationalization,  as 
are  all  expressions  of  personal  philosophy.  Her  philosophy  was 
sincere,  uttered  with  a  deep  understanding  of  other  persons  and" 
of  herself.  It  seems  to  have  served  her  well. 


183 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

All  that  has  thus  far  been  said  in  this  study  confirms  the 
view,  expressed  above,  that  this  woman  was  something  less 
than  a  great  personage.  Why,  then,  has  Rebecca  Gratz  held, 
and  why  does  she  continue  to  hold,  so  prominent  a  position  in 
the  history  of  American  Jewry?  Her  accomplishments  for 
Philadelphia  Jewry,  we  must  remember,  were  manifold.  She 
held  a  symbolic  importance  for  her  coreligionists;  she  stood  as  a 
symbol  of  Jewish  integration  into  the  haul  monde  of  Philadelphia 
society.  She  was  instrumental  also  in  the  establishment  of  many 
worthy  and  influential  agencies  of  social-service  significance. 
Surely,  we  must  be  cognizant  of  the  fact  that  there  have  been 
scores  of  other  such  outstanding  Jewish  women  in  the  century 
between  the  Revolution  and  the  Civil  War.  For  none  of  them, 
however,  have  we  literally  thousands  of  historical  documents 
recording  their  lives  and  accomplishments.  Have  these  doc- 
uments —  her  letters  and  the  records  of  her  communal  activ- 
ities —  made  of  Rebecca  Gratz  a  historical  personage?  To  a 
considerable  extent,  we  would  answer,  yes.  It  is  also  possible 
that  there  were  indeed  few,  if  any,  other  Jewesses  to  equal 
Rebecca  Gratz  in  stature  and  achievement.  If  Rebecca  Gratz 
loomed  large  in  nineteenth-century  American  Jewry,  it  must 
be  understood  that  the  Jews  in  America  at  this  time  were  a 
minute  group.  During  the  nineteenth  century,  in  general,  the 
role  of  American  women  in  the  making  of  history  was  cir- 
cumscribed by  law  and  custom.  It  is  no  wonder  that  Rebecca 
Gratz  loomed  as  large  as  she  did  among  her  coreligionists.  On 
the  other  hand,  every  ethnic  and  religious  group  must  of 
necessity  have  its  heroes  and  heroines.  Rebecca  Gratz's  true 
achievements,  taken  together  with  the  traditional  view  that  she 
was  the  prototype  of  Rebecca  in  Scott's  Ivanhoe,  and  the  fact 
that  she  was  the  daughter  of  one  of  Colonial  America's  most 
prominent  Jewish  families,  tended  to  confer  on  her  the  r61e  of 


184 


SOME  CONCLUSIONS  ABOUT  REBECCA  GRATZ 

the  heroine  of  the  Jewish  people  —  at  least  for  the  earlier  part 
of  the  Jewish  historical  experience  in  America. 

Rebecca  Gratz's  efforts,  in  any  supposed  history-making  r61es, 
were  confined  to  adapting  established  institutions  to  new  situa- 
tions. The  organizations  which  she  inaugurated  in  Philadelphia 
were  of  importance,  but  were  new  only  in  relation  to  the  small 
group  for  which  she  created  them.  It  is  here  that  Rebecca 
Gratz's  historical  importance  is  to  be  found. 

If  Miss  Gratz's  alleged  identification  with  Sir  Walter  Scott's 
Jewish  heroine  could  be  proved,  her  historical  importance  would 
not  be  enhanced;  if  proved,  this  identification  would  only 
adumbrate  her  popular  renown,  based  as  it  is  primarily  on  this 
allegation.  It  would  be  interesting;  it  would  not  be  significant. 
Her  r61e  as  the  creator  of  Jewish  institutions  in  Philadelphia  is 
of  significance,  at  least  to  that  particular  community.  The  fact 
that  the  pattern  of  some  of  these  institutions  was  followed 
elsewhere  in  the  American  Jewish  scene  makes  her  relatively 
important  to  the  larger  American  Jewish  group  as  well. 

Viewed  in  relation  to  the  American  Jewish  community  of 
her  time,  and  on  the  basis  of  available  documentation,  Rebecca 
Gratz  was  the  most  important  Jewess  of  that  period.  When, 
however,  she  is  assessed  in  absolute  terms,  in  relation  to  truly 
great  historical  personages,  she  cannot  be  counted  in  their  ranks. 
She  is  of  prominence  in  Jewish  circles,  when  they  write  of  Jews, 
since  so  few  others  of  any  real  stature  are  known  to  have  lived 
and  worked  during  her  lifetime. 

Rebecca  Gratz  was  an  outstanding  woman  in  a  limited  area. 
If  she  was  charming  in  some  ways,  she  was  prosaic  in  others. 
Her  letters  are  without  humor,  and  she  is  generally  revealed  in 
them  as  a  rather  strait-laced  individual.  Yet  while  she  was  a 
conformist  in  most  situations,  she  was,  at  the  same  time,  a  true 
leader.  Her  sensitivity,  her  compassion  for  others,  led  her  to 


185 


JOSEPH  R.  ROSENBLOOM 

work  for  the  reduction  of  suffering  and  want  among  many 
unfortunates.  She  knew  where  her  leadership  was  most  needed 
and  how  she  could  be  most  effective.  This  ability,  together  with 
other  factors,  gave  her  great  status  in  her  own  group  as  well  as 
in  others. 

Some  outstanding  persons  are  creative  thinkers,  and  others 
are  more  proficient  in  putting  established  patterns  into  practice. 
Few  achieve  both.  Rebecca  Gratz  had  few,  if  any,  original 
thoughts,  but  she  was  sensitive  to  the  needs  of  others  and  she 
knew  how  to  care  for  them.  Through  her  accomplishments,  her 
social  position,  and  the  traditions  that  developed  about  her,  she 
has  become  the  American  Jewess  of  her  time.  While  her  fame 
is  due  more  to  traditions  than  to  achievements,  the  latter 
remain  truly  worthy  of  admiration  and  recognition. 


186 


Some  Unrecorded  American  Judaica 
Printed  Before  1851 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 


WHEN  Dr.  A.  S.  W.  Rosenbach  issued  his  pioneer 
American  Jewish  Bibliography  in  1926,  he  defined  a  new  field  of 
bibliographical  research.  He  stimulated  a  continuing  interest  in 
early  American  Judaica.  His  entries  indicated  that  here  were 
both  high  points  and  depth.  And  his  work  has  proved  of  inesti- 
mable value  to  the  writers  of  early  American  Jewish  history. 

In  1954  Dr.  Jacob  R.  Marcus  published  a  supplement  which 
contained  titles  unnoticed  by  Rosenbach,  but  was  limited  to 
books  in  the  Library  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College -Jewish 
Institute  of  Religion  in  Cincinnati.  In  all,  916  titles  of  "Books 
and  Articles  by  Jews  or  Relating  to  Them  Printed  in  the  United 
States  from  the  Earliest  Days  to  1850"  have  been  recorded. 

The  increase  of  activity  in  American  Jewish  historiography, 
however,  has  emphasized  the  inadequacies  of  both  these  contri- 
butions to  the  subject,  and  the  need  for  a  full-scale  "second 
edition"  has  become  evident.  Both  Rosenbach  and  Marcus 
devoted  much  space  to  books  of  only  peripheral  Jewish  impor- 
tance, such  as  Christian  theological  works  on  Old  Testament 
themes,  to  poems  and  essays  with  a  biblical,  but  no  essentially 
Jewish,  content,  and  to  comprehensive  religious  histories  where 
the  Jewish  interest  is  limited  to  biblical  history  as  a  prelude  to 
Christianity.  They  have  listed  at  length  successive  editions  of  the 

Mr.  Edwin  Wolf  2nd  is  the  Librarian  of  the  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia. 

187 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

often-reprinted  Josephus  and  Merchant  of  Venice.  On  the  other 
hand,  they  did  not  record  many  items  which  are  of  more 
significance  and  usefulness  to  researchers,  particularly  political, 
scientific,  and  commercial  works  by  American  Jews. 

My  own  additions  are  not  the  result  of  systematic  research, 
but  rather  the  accumulated  by-products  of  work  in  the  field  of 
American  Jewish  history.  They  include  a  few  titles  which  might 
be  considered  peripheral,  but  in  most  cases  these  are  other 
editions  of  works  already  noted  by  Rosenbach  or  Marcus.  They 
do  not  include  articles  in  newspapers  or  periodicals  which  — 
still  unrecorded  —  occur  in  great  number.  I  offer  these  entries 
merely  as  a  token  of  still  undiscovered  riches,  as  a  challenge  to 
one  who  will  plow  the  field  in  regular  furrows.  Contrary  to  the 
opinions  of  a  past  generation,  the  source  materials  for  early 
American  Jewish  history  are  far  from  sparse. 

I  am  greatly  in  the  debt  of  Dr.  Marcus  and  Maxwell  White- 
man  for  their  help  in  compiling  this  list.  They  have  made 
available  to  me  items  of  which  they  had  personal  knowledge,  as 
well  as  books,  broadsides,  and  photostats  to  be  found  in  the 
American  Jewish  Archives.  But,  even  more,  they  have  both 
encouraged  me  to  get  this  fragmentary  addition  to  Rosenbach 
and  Marcus  into  print. 


1 83 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE  1851 


BIBLIOGRAPHY* 


1719 

i .  JOSEPHUS,  FLAVIUS.  The  Wars  of  the  Jews.  /  In  Two  Books.  /  With 
the  most  Deplorable  /  History  /  of  the  /  Seige  and  Destruction  /  of 
the  /  City  of  Jerusalem.  /  And  /  The  Burning  of  the  Temple  .  .  .  / 
. .  .  /Epitomiz'd  from  the  Works  of  Flavius  /  Josephus,  Translated 
into  English  by  Sir  /  Roger  L'Estrange,  Knight.  /  The  Fourth  Edi- 
tion. /  London  Printed:  Reprinted  at  Boston  /  by  S.  Kneeland,  for 
B.  Eliot,  at  his  /  Shop  in  King-Street.  1719. 

241110,  pp.  (2),  262.  A  variant  issue  of  Rosenbach  15.  AAS. 


1752 

2.  NATHANS  and  HART.  Price  Current.  /  Halifax,  175  /  New  England 
Rum  /  Leeward  Island  Do.  /  . .  .  /  Your  Humble  Servants,  /  Nathans 
and  Hart  /  Halifax:  Printed  by  John  Bushell.  1752. 
Folio,  broadside.  Massachusetts  Historical  Society. 


1771 

3.  OTTOLENGHE,  JOSEPH.  Directions  /  for  breeding  /  Silk-Worms,  / 
Extracted  from  a  Letter  of  /Joseph  Ottolenghe,  Esq;  /  Late  Super- 
intendent /  of  the  /  Public  Filature  /  in  Georgia.  /  Philadelphia:  / 
Printed  by  Joseph  Crukshank,  in  Third-Street.  /  M,  DCC,  LXXI 


8vo,  pp.  8.  LCP. 


*  I  have  not  attempted  a  census  of  copies,  but  merely  have  indicated  the  location 
of  the  copy  used  for  the  description.  Librarians  in  the  institutions  noted  have  been 
most  helpful  to  me,  and  specially  Dr.  Bertram  W.  Korn  and  Dr.  Clarence  S,  Brig- 
ham  and  Clifford  K.  Shipton  of  the  American  Antiquarian  Society.  The  symbols 
used  are  as  follows:  AAS  —  American  Antiquarian  Society;  EW2  —  Edwin  Wolf 
2nd;  HUC  —  Hebrew  Union  College  (inch  American  Jewish  Archives);  LGP  — 
Library  Company  of  Philadelphia;  and  MW  —  Maxwell  Whiteman. 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 


1791 

4.  JEFFERSON,  THOMAS.  The  Secretary  of  State,  to  whom  was  referred, 
by  the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States,  /  the  petition 
of  Jacob  Isaacks,  of  Newport,  in  Rhode-Island,  has  examined  into  the 
truth  and  importance  of  the  alle-  /  gations  therein  set  forth,  and  makes 
thereon  the  following  /  Report.  /  .  .  .  /  Philadelphia,  November  2ist, 
1791.  /  Th:  Jefferson.  /  [Philadelphia,  1791.] 

4to,  broadside.  Concerning  Isaacs'  claim  for  a  reward  from  the 
government  for  having  developed  a  method  of  extracting  salt  from 
sea-water,  LCP. 

5.  [MAGGOWAN,  JOSEPH.]   The /Life /of /Joseph /The  /  Son  of  Is- 
rael. /  In  Eight  Books.  /  Chiefly  designed  for  the  use  of  youth.  / 
Republished  from  the  first  London  Edition.  /  Hartford:  /  Printed  by 
Elisha  Babcock.  /  M,  DCC,  XCI  [1791]. 

8vo,  pp.  147.  EWa. 

5a.  NIGODEMUS.  Evangelium  Nicodemi;  /  oder  /  Historischer  Bericht  / 
von  dem  /  Leben  /  Jesu  Christi,  /  welches  /  Nicodemus,  /  Ein  Rabbi 
und  Oberster  der  Jiiden,  /  beschrieben,  /  Wie  er  solches  selbst  gesehen 
und  erfahren,  weil  er  /  ein  Nachfolger  und  heimlicher  Jiinger  Jesu  / 
Christi  gewesen:  /  Auch  sind  /  Viel  schone  Stiicke  und  Geschichte  / 
dabey  zu  finden,  /  Welche  die  Evangelisten  nicht  beschrieben  haben;  / 
Nebst  einer  /  Historic  von  einem  Rabbi  und  Obersten  /  der  Jiiden,  / 
Welcher  offentlich  bekant:  /  Dass  Christus  Gottes  Sohn  sey.  /  Aus  des 
Herrn  Philippi  Kegelii  Anhang  zum  Geistlichen  /  Wegweiser  nach 
dem  himmlischen  Vaterland,  &c.  ge-  /  nommen.  /  Wie  dann  auch  / 
Die  erschrecklichen  Strafen  und  Plagen  /  der  zwolf  Jiidischen 
Stamme.  /  Lancaster,  /  Gedruckt  bey  Jacob  Bailey,  in  der  Konig- 
strasse,  im  /  Jahr  1791. 
I2mo,  pp.  95.  LCP. 

1793 

6.  A   Confession   of  the  /  Christian   Faith,  /  Which   was   made    at 
Constantinople,  in  the  Year  1585,  by  One,  who  be-  /  ing  complained 
of  as  a  Great  Heretic,  gave  this  Answer  and  Reason  /  of  his  Faith,  to 
some  Latin  and  Greek  Christians;  as  also  to  se-  /  veral  Jews  and 

190 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAIC  A  PRINTED  BEFORE    185! 

Turks  that  were  present.  /  .  . .  /  London:  printed  in  the  year  1711  — 
New-York:  /  Re-printed  in  the  Year  1793. 
4to,  broadside.  EWa. 

7.  NASSY,  DAVID  DE  ISAAC  COHEN.  Observations  /on  the  /  Cause, 
Nature,  and  Treatment  /  of  the  /  Epidemic  Disorder,  /  Prevalent  in 
Philadelphia.  /  By  D.  Nassy,  M.D.  Member  of  the  American  /  Philo- 
sophical Society,  &c.  /  (Translated  from  the  French.)  /  Philadelphia:  / 
Printed  by  Parker  &  Co.  for  M.  Carey.  /  Nov.  26,  —  1793. 
8vo,  pp.  26.  LCP. 

8. .  Observations  /  sur  la  /  Cause,  la  Nature,  et  le  Traite- 

ment  /  de  la  /  Maladie  Epidemique,  /  qui  regne  a  Philadelphia.  / 
Par  D.  Nassy,  Docteur  en  Medicine,  et  Membre  de  /  la  Soci6t6  Philo- 
sophique  de  Philadelphie,  &c.  /  Philadelphie:  /  Imprime*  par  Parker  & 
Cie.  pour  M.  Carey.  /  26  Nov.  —  1793. 

8vo,  pp.  48.  With  English  title  as  in  preceding  entry  and  English 
text  on  the  right  hand  pages.  LCP. 


1794 

9.  [CROUCH,    NATHANIEL.]    A  /Journey  /  To  /Jerusalem.  /  Contain- 
ing, /  The  Travels  /  of  /  Fourteen  Englishmen,  /  In  1668,  /  To  Jeru- 
salem, Bethlehem,  Jericho,  the  /  River  Jordan,  Lake  of  Sodom  and 
Go-  /  morrah,  /  In   a   Letter  from   T.  B.  /  To   which   is   added,   a 
Description    of   the  /  Empire    of    China.  /  Poughkeepsie,    Dutchess 
County:  /  Printed  and  sold  by  Nicholas  Power.  1794. 

8vo,  pp.  34.  AAS. 

10.  JOSEPHUS,  FLAVIUS.  The  /  Whole  Genuine  and  Complete  /  Works  / 
of  /  Flavius  Josephus  /  the  Learned  and  Authentic  /Jewish  /  Histor- 
ian, /  and  /  Celebrated  Warrior.  /  Containing /  Also   a  /  Con- 
tinuation /  of  the  /  History  of  the  Jews,  /  . .  .  /  By  George  Henry 
Maynard,  LL.  D.  /  Illustrated  with  Marginal  References  and  Notes . . .  / 
By  the  Rev.  Edward  Kimpton,  /..../  New-York:  /  Printed  and  Sold 
by  William  Durell,  /  No.  208,  Pearl-Street,  near  the  Fly-Market.  / 
M,  DCC,  XCIV[i794], 

Folio,  pp.  723,  (3),  with  60  engravings.  AAS. 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

1795 

1 1 .  BRETT,  SAMUEL.  A  /  True  Relation  /  of  the  /  Proceedings  /  of  the  / 
Great  Council  /  of  the  /Jews;  /  Assembled  in  the  Plains  of  Ajayday, 
in  /  Hungaria,  about  30  Leagues  distant  from  /  Buda;  to  examine  the 
Scriptures  con-/cerning  Christ.  /On  the  i2th  of  October,  1650.  / 
By   Samuel   Brett;  /  (An   Englishman)    there    present.  /  Printed    at 
Keene  —  (New-Hampshire,)  /  For  Amos  Taylor;  /  Travelling  Book- 
Seller.  /  M,  DCC,  XCV  [1795]. 

isuno,  pp.  12.  AAS. 

1796 

12.  CAREY,   MATHEW,   compiler.   Select  Pamphlets: /viz.  /  i.  Lessons 
to  a  Young  Prince,  by  an  Old  Statesman,  /  on  the  present  Disposition 
in  Europe  to  a  general  Revolution.  /  2.  Appeal  from  the  New  to  the 
Old  Whigs,  /  in  Consequence  of  some  late  Discussions  in  Parliament.  / 

3.  Address  to  the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States.  / 

4.  Features  of  Mr.  Jay's  Treaty.  /  5.  Short  Account  of  the  Malignant 
Fever,  /  prevalent  in  Philadelphia,  in  the  Fall  of  1793  —  by  Mathew 
Carey.  /  6.  Dr.  Nassy's  Account  of  the  Same  Fever.  /  7.  Observations 
on  Dr.  Rush's  Enquiry  into  the  Origin  of  /  the  late  Epidemic  Fever  — 
by  Mathew  Carey.  /  8.  Trial  of  Mr.  Walker,  and  others,  for  High 
Treason.  /  Philadelphia:    Published    by   Mathew   Carey,  /  No.    1 18 
Market-Street.  /  1796.  /  (Price  two  dollars.) 

8vo.  A  collection  of  separate  pamphlets  of  various  dates,  with  the 
general  title  as  above.  The  Nassy  pamphlet  is  the  1793  French- 
English  edition.  Carey  issued  other  similar  collections  the  same  year 
with  different  contents.  Another  one,  including  the  Nassy  pamphlet, 
has  exactly  the  same  title  as  above,  except:  "8.  Revolution  of  Amer- 
ica —  By  the  AbW  Raynal."  LCP. 


1797 

13.  COOPER,  WILLIAM.  The  Promised  Seed.  /  A  /  Sermon  /  Preached 
To  God's  Ancient  Israel /The  Jews, /at  Sion-Chapel.  White- 
Chapel,  /  On  Sunday  Afternoon,  August  28,  1796. /By  William 
Cooper.  /  To  Which  Are  Added,  /  The  Hymns  That  Were  Sung,  and 

192 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE  1851 

The /Prayers  That  Were  Offered  Up, /Before  and  After  The/ 
Sermon.  /  Windsor;  Re-Printed  by  Alden  Spooner.  /  1 797. 
8vo,  pp.  28,  (2).  AAS. 

14.  [MACGOWAN,   JOSEPH.]  The  /  Life  /  of  /  Joseph,  /  The  /  Son  of 
Israel.  /  In  Eight  Books.  /  Chiefly  designed  to  allure  young  minds  to  a 
love  of  /  the  Sacred  Scriptures.  /  By  John  [sic]  Macgowan.  /  Wind- 
ham:  (Connecticut)  Printed  by /John  Byrne.  /  1797. 

8vo,  pp.  1 66.  EWa. 

1798 

15.  A  /  Dictionary  /  of  the  /  Bible:  /  or  an  explanation  of  the  Proper 
Names  &  Difficult  Words  /  in  the  /  Old  and  New  Testament,  /  ac- 
cented as  they  ought  to  be  pronounced.  /  With  other  /  Useful  Partic- 
ulars /  for  those  who  would  understand  the  /  Sacred  Scriptures,  /  and 
read  them  with  propriety.  /  First  American  Edition,  /  from  the  second 
London  edition,  enlarged.  /  Printed  at  the  Press  of  and  for  /  Isaiah 
Thomas,  Jun.  /  Sold  by  him  at  his  Bookstore,  also  by  Isaiah  Thomas, 
at  the  /  Worcester  Bookstore,  and  by  Thomas  &  Andrews,  No.  45, 
Newbury  Street,  Boston.  /  Worcester  — January  —  1798. 

tamo,  pp.  iv,  (231),  (4),  EW2. 


1799 

1 6.  PRIESTLEY,  JOSEPH.  A  /  Comparison  /  of  the  /  Institutions  of 
Moses  /  with  those  of  /  The  Hindoos  /  and  /  other  Ancient  Nations;  / 
with  /  Remarks  on  Mr.  Dupuis's  Origin  of  all  /  Religions,  /  The  Laws 
and  Institutions  of  Moses  /  Methodized,  /  and  /  An  Address  to  the 
Jews  on  the  present  state  of  the  /  World  and  the  Prophecies  relating 
to  it.  /  By  Joseph  Priestley,  L.L.D.,  F.R.S.  &c.  /  Trutina  ponantur 
eadem  /  Horace.  /  Northumberland:  /  Printed  for  the  Author  by  A. 
Kennedy.  /  MDCCXCIX  [1799]. 
8vo,  pp.  xxvii,  428.  (8),  EWs, 


1800 

17.  NONES,  BENJAMIN.  To  the  Printer  of  the  Gazette  of  the  United 
States.  /  Sir,  /  I  hope,  if  you  take  the  liberty  of  inserting  calumnies 

193 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

against  individuals,  for  the  amusement  of  /  your  readers,  you  will  have 
so  much  regard  to  justice,  as  to  permit  the  injured  .-./...  to  appeal 
to  the  public  in  self  defence.  .  . .  /  Benjamin  Nones.  /  Philadelphia, 
August  n,  1800.  [Philadelphia:  William  Duane,  1800.] 
Folio,  pp.  2.  MW. 

1 8.  SOLOMON,  SAMUEL.  A  /  Guide  to  Health;  /  or,  /  Advice  to  Both 
Sexes:  /  with  /  An  Essay  /  On  certain  Disease,  Seminal  Weakness,  / 
and  /  A  destructive  Habit  of  a  private  Nature.  /  Also  an  address  / 
To  Parents,  Tutors  &  Guardians  of  Youth.  /  To  which  are  added,  / 
Observations  /  on  the  /  Use  &  Abuse  of  Cold  Bathing.  /By  S. 
Solomon,  M.D.  /  Fifty-second  Edition.  /  Stockport  /  Printed,  for  the 
Author,  by  J.  Clarke,  21,  Underbank;  /and  sold  by /Robert  Bach, 
New- York.  /  Price  One  Dollar.  [1800] 

8vo,  pp.  283,  with  frontispiece  portrait  and  one  plate.  LCP. 


1801 

19.  ETTING,  REUBEN.  Schedule  of  the  whole  number  of  Persons  in  the 
District  of  Maryland.  /  [table  of  14columns\  /  Baltimore,  December  2ist, 
1 80 1,  /  Reuben  Etting,  Marshal  of  the  District  of  Maryland.  [Balti- 
more: 1801.] 

Folio,  pp.  2.  Possibly  printed  at  Washington.  On  verso  are  printed 
letters  of  transmittal  from  Etting  to  Madison,  Dec.  21,  1801,  and 
from  Jefferson  to  Congress,  Dec.  23,  1801.  Mass.  Hist.  Soc. 


1803 

20.  COHEN,  JACOB  i.  Sales  at  /  Auction,  /  By  Prosser  &  Moncure,  / 
All  That  Valuable  Assortment  of  /  Merchandize,  /  Belonging  to  the 
estate  of  Israel  I.  Cohen,  dec.  late  of  this  City,  /  on  Wednesday  the 
1 6th  inst. .../.../  Richmond,  November  7th,  1803.  /Jacob  I. 
Cohen,  Adm'r.  /  Printed  by  S.  Pleasants,  Junior,  Richmond  [1803]. 
Folio,  broadside.  EW2. 

2Oa.   ILLINOIS  AND  WABASH  LAND  COMPANIES.  An  /  Account  /  of  the  / 

Proceedings  /  of  the  /  Illinois   and   Ouabache  /  Land   Companies,  / 
in  persuance  of  their  purchases  made  of  the  /  Independent  Natives,  / 

194 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE    185! 

July  5th,  1773,  anc*  i8th  October,  1775.  /Philadelphia:  /Printed  by 
William  Duane,  No.  106,  Market  Street.  /  1803. 

8vo,  pp.  74.  Among  the  original  shareholders  who  made  the  purchase 
were  Moses,  Jacob  and  David  Franks,  Barnard  and  Michael  Gratz, 
oseph  Simon  and  Levy  Andrew  Levy.  LCP. 

21.  [MACGOWAN,  JOSEPH.]   The /Life /of /Joseph/ The  Son  of  Is- 
rael. /  In  Eight  Books.  /  Chiefly  designed  for  the  use  /  of  youth.  / 
[four-line  quotation^  /  Brookfield,  Massachusetts,  /  Printed  by  E.  Merriam 
&  Co.  /July  1803. 

iizmo,  pp.  153,  (3).  HUG. 

22.  MONTEFIORE,  JOSHUA.   Commercial  and  Notarial  /  Precedents:  / 
consisting  of  /  All  the  most  approved  Forms,  Common  and  Special,  / 
which  are  required  in  Transactions  of  Business:  /  With  an  Appendix,  / 
Containing  principles  of  Law  relative  to  /  Bills  of  Exchange,  Insurance, 
and  Shipping:  /  By  Joshua  Montefiore,  /  Attorney  and  Notary  Public 
of  the  City  of  London.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Printed  and  Sold  by  James 
Humphreys,  /  At  the  N.  W.  Corner  of  Walnut  and  Dock-Streets.  / 
1803. 

8vo,  pp.  xvi,  350,  2.  LCP. 

23.  PRIESTLEY,  JOSEPH.  The  Originality  /  And  /  Superior  Excellence  / 
Of  The  /  Mosaic  Institutions  /  Demonstrated.  /  By  Joseph  Priestley, 
LL.D.    F.R.S.    &c.  /  .  . .  /  Northumberland:  /  Printed    by    Andrew 
Kennedy,  Franklin's  Head,   Queen-Street:  /  for  P.  Byrne,  No.   72 
Chesnut  Street,  /  Philadelphia.  /  1803. 

i6mo,  pp.  36.  AAS. 

1805 

24.  [PHILLIPSON,  SIMON.]  Report  /  of  /  the  Committee  /  of  /  Commerce 
and  Manufacturers,  /  to  whom  /  was  referred  on  the  eighteenth  /  of 
December  last,  /  the  /  Petition  /  of  /  Simon  Philipson,  /  of  the  City  of 
Philadelphia.  /  20th    February,    1805.  /Read    and    ordered    to    be 
referred  to  a  committee  of  the  whole  /  House,  tomorrow.  /  [Washing- 
ton: 1805.] 

8vo,  pp.  4.  HUG. 

195 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

25.  SMITH,  ELIAS.  The  /  Whole  World  Governed  by  a  Jew;  /  or  The  / 
Government  /  of  The  /  Second  Adam,  as  King  and  Priest;  /  Described 
From  The  Scriptures.  /Delivered  March  4,  1805,  the  Evening  after 
the  /  Election  of  the  President  &  Vice-President.  /  By  Elias  Smith.  / 
.  .  .  .  /  Exeter;  /  Printed  By  Henry  Ranlet,  /  And  sold  at  his  Bookstore: 
and  by  Elias  Smith,  Portsmouth;  /  B.  B.  Macanulty,  Salem;  Daniel 
Gonant,  No.  8,  and /Joseph  Pulsifer,  No.  36,  Backstreet,  Boston; 
J.  Prince,  /  Freetown,  Mass.;  Timothy  Kezer,  Kennebunk,  and  the  / 
Book-sellers  in  the  United  States.  1805. 

i2mo,  pp.  84.  AAS. 

1809 

26.  [HOLFORD,  GEORGE  PETER.]  The /Destruction /of /Jerusalem,  / 
an   Absolute  and  Irresistible  Proof /of /The  Divine   Origin /of/ 
Christianity:  /  Including  /  A    Narrative    of   the    Calamities    Which 
Befel  /  the  Jews,  so  far  as  they  tend  to  Verify  /  Our  Lord's  Predictions 
Relative  /  to  that  Event.  /  With  /  A  Brief  Description  of  the  /  City 
and  Temple.  /..../  Third  American  Edition.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Pub- 
lished by  Joseph  Sharpless,   at  Rose-Mount,  /  half  a  mile   above 
Callowhill  Street,  /  on  the  Ridge  Road.  1809. 

i2mo,  pp.  144.  AAS. 

27.  NOAH,  MORDEGAI  MANUEL,  ed.  Shakspeare  Illustrated: /or,  the/ 
Novels   and   Histories  /  on   which   the  /  Plays   of  Shakspeare  /  are 
founded.  /  Collected  and  translated  from  the  originals,  /  By  Mrs. 
Lenox,  /  Author  of  the  Female  Quixote,   &c.  /  With  Critical  Re- 
marks, /  and  /  Biographical   Sketches  of  the   Writers,  /  By   M.   M. 
Noah.  /In   Two   Volumes.  /  Vol.    I,  /  Published    by /Bradford    & 
Inskeep,  Philadelphia;  Inskeep  &  Bradford,  /  New  York;  William 
M'llhenney,  Jun.,  Boston;  Coale  &  /  Thomas,  Baltimore;  and  E. 
Morford,  Charleston.  /  Printed  by  T.  &  G.  Palmer,  Philadelphia.  / 
1809. 

8vo,  pp.  viii,   (2),   341.  Only  the  first   volume   was   published. 
LCP. 

2ya.  [ETTING,  SOLOMON.]    Memorial /of  the  /  United  /  Illinois   and 
Wabash  /  Land  Companies,  /  to  the  /  Senate  and  House  of  Repre- 

196 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE    185! 

sentatives  /  of  the  /  United  States.  /  Baltimore:  /  Printed  by  Joseph 
Robinson,  96,  Market-St.  /  1810. 

8vo,  pp.  44.  The  memorial  was  signed  by  the  agents  of  the  com- 
panies, one  of  whom  was  Etting.  LCP. 

1810 

28.  GOLDSMITH,  LEWIS.  An  /  Exposition  /  of  the  /  Conduct  of  France  / 
towards  /  America:  /  illustrated  by  /  Cases  /  decided  in  the  /  Council 
of  Prizes  in  Paris.  /  By  Lewis  Goldsmith,  /  Notary  Public,  /  Author  of 
"The    Crimes   of  Cabinets"  —  Translator   of  Mr.    D'Hauterive's  / 
"Etat  de  la  France  k  la  Fin  de  PAn  8,"  &c.  &c.  /  [two-line  quotation 

from  Virgit]  /  Second  Edition.  /  New  York:  /  Printed  for  Ezra  Sargeant, 
86  Broadway,  /  opposite  Trinity  Church.  /  1810. 

ismo,  pp.  99.  First  printed  at  London  the  same  year.  LCP. 

28a.  GOLDSMITH,  LEWIS.  The  /  Secret  History  /  of  the  /  Cabinet  of 
Bonaparte;  /  including  /  His  Private  Life,  Character,  Domestic  Ad- 
ministration, and  /  his  Conduct  to  Foreign  Powers;  /  Together  with  / 
Secret  Anecdotes  /  of  the  different  courts  of  Europe,  and  of  the 
French  /  Revolution.  /  With  /  Two  Appendices,  /  . . .  /  by  Lewis 
Goldsmith,  /  Notary  Public.  / . . .  /  Edited  and  Illustrated  with 
Notes,  /  By  a  Gentleman  of  New-York;  /  . . .  /  Vol  I  (-11).  /  New- 
York:  /  Printed  for  E.  Sargeant  and  M.  &  W.  Ward. /And  also 
sold  by  /  Brannan  &  Morford,  Philadelphia;  E.  Morford,  Willington 
&  Co.  Charles- /  ton;  Seymour  &  Williams,  Savannah;  Munroe  & 
Francis,  O.  C.  Green-  /  leaf,  W.  Wells,  West  &  Blake,  John  West  & 
Co.  Boston;  .../..,/  1810. 

2-vols.,  I2mo,  pp.  (4),  257;  (2),  iv,  300.  LCP. 

29.  LA  MOTTA,  JACOB  DE.  An  /  Investigation  /  of  the  /  Properties  and 
Effects,  /  of     the  /  Spiraea     Trifoliata  /  of     Linnaeus,  /  or  /  Indian 
Physic.  /  By  /Jacob  de  La  Motta,  /  Of  Charleston  South  Carolina.  / 
Member  of  the  Philadelphia  Medical  and  American  Linnaean/ 
Societies;  and  Member  of  the  Charleston  Philosophical  Society.  / 
"Fiat  Experimentum."  /  [four-line  quotation  from  Darwin]  /  Philadel- 
phia: /  Printed  by  Jane  Aitken,  No.  71,  /  North  Third  Street.  /  1810. 

8vo,  pp.  44.  Dissertation  submitted  to  the  University  of  Pennsyl- 
vania, April  18,  1810,  for  the  degree  of  Doctor  of  Medicine.  EW2. 

197 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 


30.  A  /  Word  of  Entreaty  /  to  the  /Jews  /  dispersed  throughout  the 
United    States  /  of  America,    [cap.    title]  /  [colop:]    Published    at  J. 
Tiebout's,    No.    238    Water    Street,  /  for   the   Author.  /  Largin    & 
Thompson,  Printers.  [New  York:  ca.  1810.] 
I2mo,  pp.  12.  MW. 


1811 

31.  FLEURY,  ABB£  CLAUDE.  A  Short  History /of  the /Ancient  Isra- 
elites: /  with  an  account  /  Of  their  Manners,  Customs,  Laws,  Polity, 
Re-  /  ligion,  Sects,  Arts,  and  Trades,  Divi-  /  sion  of  Time,  Wars, 
Capti-  /  vities,  &c.  /  A  work  of  the  greatest  utility.  /  Written  originally 
in  French  by  the  Abb6  Fleury,  /  Much  enlarged  from  the  Apparatus 
Biblicus  of  Pere  Lamy,  /  And  corrected  and  improved  throughout  / 
By  Adam  Clarke,  L.L.D.  /  Baltimore:  /  Published  by  J.  Kingston, 
Bookseller,  /  164  Market-Street.  /  B.  W.   Sower,   &   Co.  Printers.  / 
1811. 

I2mo,  pp.  307,  frontispiece  portrait.  LCP. 

32.  MARTIN,    JOHN.    The  /  Conquest    of   Canaan:  /  in    which  /The 
Natural  and  Moral  State  of /its  Inhabitants;  /  The  Character  of 
their  Conquerors;  /  with  /  The  Manner  and  Design  /  of  /  Their  Con- 
quest, /  are  considered.  /  In  a  Series  of  Letters  from  a  Father  to  his 
Son.  /  By  John  Martin.  /  Frankford  [Philadelphia] :  Printed  by  Coale 
&  Gilbert./  1811 

i2mo,  pp.  303,  folding  map.  EW2. 

33.  MONTEFIORE,  JOSHUA.  The  /  American  Trader's  /  Compendium;  / 
containing  /  The  Laws,  Customs,  and  Regulations  /  of  /  The  United 
States,  /  Relative  to  Commerce.  /  Including  the  most  useful  precedents 
adapted  to  /  general  business.  /  Dedicated  by  Permission  /  to  the  / 
Honorable  William  Tilghman,  /  Chief  Justice  of  Pennsylvania.  /  By 
J.  Montefiore,  /  Author  of  the  Commercial  Dictionary,  Commercial  / 
and  Notarial   Precedents,   &c.    &c.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Published   by 
Samuel  R.  Fisher,  Junr.  /  No.  30,  South  Fourth  Street,  /  William 
Brown,  Printer.  /  1811. 

8vo.  pp.  xii,  304.  EW2. 

198 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

34.  MONTMOLLIN,  FREDERICK,  and  MOSES,  SOLOMON.  [Circular]  /  Phila- 
delphia, 1 2th  August  1811.  /  [Sir.]  /  In  compliance  with  the  general 
wish  of  my  friends,  I  have  formed  an  /  Establishment  in  the  Auction 
and  Commission  business,  with  Mr.   Solomon  /  Moses  .  . .  /  Signa- 
tures. /  Frederick  Montmollin.  /  Solomon  Moses. 

4to,  broadside.  Girard  College. 

35.  NEW  YORK  (STATE),  ASSEMBLY,  SENATE.  In  Senate  —  February  27, 
181 1.  /  Gentlemen,  /  I  deem  it  my  duty  to  communicate  to  you  . .  .  / 
.  . .  /  Report  of  the  Managers  of  Union  College  /  Lottery.  /  .  .  .  / 
[Albany:  1811.] 

Folio,  pp.  4.  An  emergency  report  made  necessary  by  the  failure  of 
Naphtali  Judah,  one  of  the  major  purchasers  of  tickets.  HUG. 


1812 

36.  BINNY  &  RONALDSON.  Specimen  /  of  /  Printing  Types,  /  from  the  / 
Foundery  /  of  /  Binny  &  Ronaldson.  /  Philadelphia.  /  Fry  and  Kam- 
merer,  Printers.  /  1812. 

8vo,  41  leaves.  Pica,  Long  Primer,  and  Brevier  Hebrew  are  dis- 
played. LCP. 

1813 

37.  CLARKE,  EDWARD  DANIEL.  Travels  /  in  /  Various  Countries  /  of  / 
Europe,  Asia,  and  Africa.  /  Commencing  January  i,  1801.  /  By  Ed- 
ward Daniel  Clarke,  LL.D.  /  Part  the  Second.  /  Greece,  Egypt,  and 
The    Holy    Land.  /  Section   the   First.  /  New- York:  /  Published    by 
Whiting  and  Watson,  /  Theological  and  Classical  Booksellers,  No.  96, 
Broadway.  /  Printed  by  T,  C.  Fay,  157,  Chatham-street.  /  1813. 

I2mo,  pp.  xvi,  327,   113.  This  is  the  only  section  dealing  with 
Palestine.  LCP. 

37a. .    Travels  /  in  /  Various    Countries  /  of  /  Europe,    Asia, 

and  Africa.  /  By  Edward  Daniel  Clarke,  LL.D.  /  Part  the  Second.  / 
Greece,  Egypt,  and  the  Holy  Land.  /  Section  I.  /  Second  American 
Edition.  /  Printed  by  Heman  Willard,  /  Stockbridge,  Massachusetts.  / 
1813. 

i2mo,  pp.  xxiv,  400.  LCP. 

199 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

38.  HORWITZ,  JONAS.  Just  put  to  Press,  /  and  will  be  published  with  all 
convenient  speed,  /  The  first  American  edition  of  /  Van  Der  Hooghfs  / 
Hebrew  Bible,  /  without  the  points.  /  By  J.  Horwitz.  [Philadelphia: 
Thomas  Dobson,  1813.] 

8vo}  pp.  4.  Prospectus  for  the  first  Hebrew  Bible  printed  in  America. 
University  of  Virginia. 

1814 

39.  The  /  American   Speaker;  /  A  /  Selection  /  of  /  Popular,   Parlia- 
mentary  and  Forensic  /  Eloquence;  /  particularly  calculated  /  for  the 
Seminaries  in  the  United  States.  /  Second  Edition.  /  Philadelphia:  / 
Printed  and  published  by  /  Abraham  Small.  71814, 

I2mo,  pp.  xii,  395.  On  pp.  279-282  appears  the  "Speech  delivered 
by  Jacob  Henry,  in  the  Legislature  of  North-Carolina,  on  a  motion 
to  vacate  his  seat,  he  being  a  Jew."  Henry's  speech  does  not  appear  in 
the  first  edition  of  181 1.  LCP. 

3ga.  CLARKE,  EDWARD  DANIEL,  Travels  /  in  /  Various  Countries  /  in  / 
Europe,  Asia,  and  Africa.  /  By  Edward  Daniel  Clarke,  LL.D.  /  Part 
the  Second.  /  Greece,  Egypt,  and  The  Holy  Land.  /  Section  I.  /  The 
Fourth  American  Edition.  /  New-York:  /  Published  by  D.  Hunting- 
ton.  /  C.  S.  Van  Winkle,  Printer.  /  1814. 
i2mo,  pp.  xii,  406,  (i).  LCP. 

1815 

40.  LUTYENS,  GOTTHILF  N.  The  /  Life  and  Adventures  /  of  /  Moses 
Nathan  Israel.  /  By  G.  N.  Lutyens.  /  Containing  /  An  Account  of  his 
Birth,  Education  and  /  Travels  through  Parts  of  Germany,  /  Italy, 
and  the  /  United  States,  /  where  he  met  with  his  family;  /  interspersed 
with  many  interesting  /  Anecdotes:  /  With  a  description  of  the  Govern- 
ment, Manners  /  and  Customs  of  different  parts  of  /  Germany  & 
Italy.  /  Easton:  /  Printed  by  Christian  J.  Hutter,  /  1815. 

I2mo,  pp.  214,  (2).  Rosenbach  Foundation. 

1816 

4oa.  [ETTING,   SOLOMON.]    Memorial /of  the  /  United  /  Illinois   and 
Wabash  /  Land  Companies,  /  to  the  /  Senate  and  House  of  Repre- 

200 


UNRECORDED   AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

sentatives  /  of  the  /  United  States.  /  Baltimore:  /  Printed  by  Joseph 
Robinson,  96,  Market-St.  /  1816. 

8vo,  pp.  48.  The  memorial  was  signed  by  the  agents  of  the  companies, 
one  of  whom  was  fitting.  LCP. 

41.  NORFOLK  AND   PORTSMOUTH,   CITIZENS.   To   the  /  President  and 
Directors  /  of  the  /  Bank  of  the  United  States,  /  at  /  Philadelphia.  / 
Gentlemen,  /  At  a  numerous  meeting  of  the  citizens  of  Nor-  /  folk 
and  Portsmouth, .  . .  [Norfolk:  1816.] 

8vo,  pp.  12.  Moses  Myers  was  one  of  the  committee  who  signed  the 
memorial.  LCP. 

42.  RONALDSON,  JAMES.  Specimen / of  / Printing  Type, /from  the/ 
Letter   Foundry  /  of  /James   Ronaldson,  /  Successor   to  /  Binny    & 
Ronaldson.  /  Cedar  between  Ninth  and  Tenth  streets,  /  Philadel- 
phia. /  1816. 

8vo.  43  leaves.  Double  Pica,  Pica,  Long  Primer,  Pica  with  Points, 
and  Brevier  Hebrew  are  displayed,  LCP. 


1817 

43.  BYRON,  GEORGE  GORDON,   LORD.   Hebrew  Melodies.  /  By  Lord 
Byron.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Published  by  James  P.  Parke,  /  No.  74,  South 
Second  Street.  /  Wm.  Fry,  Printer.  1815. 

i2mo,  pp.  47.  LCP. 

44.  COHEN,  JACOB  i.,  JR.  Cohen's  /  Lottery  and  Exchange-Office,  / 
Baltimore.  /  The  proprietor  of  this  establishment,  begs  leave  to  present 
to  his  customers,  /  agents  and  correspondents,  and  to  the  publick  (by 
Authority  of  the  State  of  Maryland,)  /  the  most  splendid  lottery  ever 
projected  in  this  Country,  being  /  For  the  Benefit  of  the  /  Surgical 
Institution  of  Baltimore.  /  .  .  .  /  J.  I.   Cohen,  Jr.  /  .  . .  /  Baltimore, 
1817. 

Folio,  broadside.  Library  of  the  Medical  and  Chirurgical  Faculty 
of  the  State  of  Maryland. 

45.  [jUDAH,   MANUEL,  and  SAUNDERS,   CHARLES  H.]    (27)  /  Report  /  Of 

the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means  on  the  Peti-  /  tion  of  Charles  H. 

201 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

Saunders  and  Manuel  Judah.  /January  2,  1817.  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington: 


8vo,  pp.  4.  The  petitioners'  claim  for  recovery  of  duty  on  liquor 
lost  by  fire  was  turned  down.  HUG. 

46.  LACEY,  HENRY.  The  /  Principal  Events  /  in  the  /  Life  of  Moses,  / 
and  in  the  /  Journey  of  the  Israelites  /  from  /  Egypt  to  Canaan.  /  By 
Henry  Lacey.  /Philadelphia:  /Published  by  Benjamin  Johnson,  31 
Market-street.  /  D.  Dickinson,  Printer.  /  1817. 

I2mo,  pp.  84.  LCP. 

46a.  MARKS,  ELIAS.  The  /  Aphorisms  /  of  /  Hippocrates  /  From  the 
Latin  Version  of  Verhoofd  /  with  a  /Literal  Translation  on  the 
Opposite  Page  /  and  /  Explanatory  Notes  /  [one-line  quotation]  /  The 
Work  intended  As  a  Book  of  Reference  /  to  the  Medical  Student.  / 
By  Elias  Marks,  M.D.  /  Member  of  the  Physico-Medical  Society  of 
New-York  /  New-York:  /  Printed  and  Sold  by  Collins  &  Co.,  no.  182, 
Pearl  /Street.  /i  817. 

I2mo,  pp.  169  (pp.  145-6  omitted).  College  of  Physicians  of  Phila- 
delphia. 

47.  The  /  Return  /  of  /  The  Jews,  /  and  the  /  Second  Advent  of  Our 
Lord,  /  proved  to  be  a  scripture  doctrine,  /  By  a  citizen  of  Baltimore.  / 
"Slave  to  no  sect,  who  takes  no  private  road."  /  Baltimore:  /  Printed 
by  Richard  J.  Matchett.  /  1817. 

8vo,  pp.  60.  LCP. 

1819 

47a.  NIGODEMUS.  Das  /  Evangelium  Nicodemus,  /  oder  /  Gewisser  Be- 
richt  /  Von  dem  Leben,  Leiden  und  Sterben,  /  Unsers  Heilands  / 
Jesu  Christi,  /  und  von  den  /  Zwolf  Stammen  der  Juden  /  und  sonst 
noch  mehr  schone  Stiicke,  /  wo  das  mehrste  von  den  Evangelisten 
nicht  beschrieben  /  worden  ist,  /  Beschrieben  von  /  Nicodemus,  /  ein 
Priester  und  Oberster  der  Juden  und  ein  /  heimlicher  Junger  und 
Nachfolger  Jesu,  /  Nebst  Theotesius,  /  welcher  auch  ein  Priester  und 
Schriftgelehrter  /  der  Jiiden  war.  /  Aus  Herrn  Philippi  Kegelii  An- 
hang  zum  geistlichen  Weg-  /  weiser  nach  dem  himmlischen  Vater- 
lande  &c.  /  genommen.  /  Auch  ein  neuer  Zusaz  zum  Evangeli  Nico- 

202 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

demi  /  Und  ein  Anhang  von  der  /  Genoveva  und  Helena.  /  Neu 
verfasset  und  zum  erstenmal  in  dieser  Form  heraus-  /  gegeben  von  / 
Johann  George  Homan,  /  im  Rosenthal,  nahe  bey  Reading,  Penn- 
sylvanien,  im  /  Jahr  Christi,  1819.  /  Reading  . .  .  gedruckt  bey  C.  A. 
Bruckman ...  1819. 
i2mo,  pp.  302.  LGP. 

1820 

48.  HOLFORD,  GEORGE  PETER.  The  /  Destruction  of  Jerusalem,  /  an  / 
Absolute  and  Irresistible  /  Proof  /  of  /  the  Divine  Origin  /of/  Chris- 
tianity: /  Including  /  A  Narrative  of  the  Calamities  which  Befell  /  the 
Jews,  so  far  as  they  tend  to  Ver-  /  ify  Our  Lord's  Predictions  Rel-  / 
ative  to  that  Event.  /  With  /  A  Brief  Description  of  the  City  and  / 
Temple.  /..../  Third  American  Edition.  /  Pottstown:  /  Printed  by 
John  Royer.  /  1820. 

i2mo,  pp.  132.  AAS. 

49.  MILMAN,  HENRY  HART.  The  /  Fall  of  Jerusalem.  /  A  /  Dramatic 
Poem.  /  By  the  Rev.  H.  H.  Milman.  /  New-York:  /  Published  by  L. 
and  F.  Lockwood.  /  C.  S.  Van  Winkle,  Printer.  /  1820. 

I2mo,  pp.  1 80.  LCP. 

50.  [NOAH,  MORDECAI  MANUEL.]  Essays  /  of  /  Howard,  /  on  /  Domestic 
Economy.  /  Originally  published  in  the  New-York  Advocate.  /  "Eye 
Nature's  Walks."  /  New-York:  /  Printed  by  G.  L.  Birch  &  Co.  /  No. 
39/4  Frankfort-street.  /  1820. 

I2mo,  pp.  214.  LCP. 

51 .  TAPPAN,  WILLIAM  B.  Songs  of  Judah,  /  and  other  /  Melodies.  /  By  / 
William  B.  Tappan,  /  Author  of  New  England  and  Other  Poems.  / 
Philadelphia:  /  Published  by  S.  Potter  &  Co.  87  Chesnut  Street.  / 
1820. 

I2mo,  pp.  xi,  204,  and  engraved  title-page.  LCP. 


1821 

52.  JOHNSON,  DAVID  ISRAEL.  Auction.  /  This  Evening,  at  early  Candle- 
light, will  be  sold,  /  at  the  Auction  and  Commission  Store  of  /  D.  I. 

203 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

Johnson,  /  No.  1  75,  Main  Street,  /  A  Valuable  Assortment  of  /  Dry 
Goods,  /  Hardware,    &c.  /  .  .  .  Together  with   a  few  Books,    &c.  / 
Cincinnati,  Thursday,  January  4,  1821.  /  Printed  at  the  Office  of 
the  Liberty  Hall  and  Cincinnati  Gazette  [1821]. 
Folio,  broadside.  HUG. 

53.  [SEDCAS,  DAVID  G.]  An  /  Account  /  of  the  /  Origin  and  Progress  / 
of  the  /  Pennsylvania  Institution  /  for  the  /  Deaf  and  Dumb.  /  With  / 
A  List  of  the  Contributors,  &c.  /  Published  by  order  of  the  Directors.  / 
Philadelphia:  /  Printed  by  William  Fry,  No.  63,  South  Fifth  Street.  / 


8vo,  pp.  38,  (i).  David  G.  Seixas  was  the  founder  and  first  director 
of  the  Institution,  LCP, 

54.  -  .  To  the  Editors  of  the  American  Sentinel.  /  My  com- 
munication of  the  yth,  which  appeared  /  in  several  gazettes  of  this  city, 
remains  until  this  /  day  unanswered.  .../..../  David  G.  Seixas.  / 
December  14*.  /  .  .  .  /  [Philadelphia:  1821.] 

Folio,  broadside.  HUG. 

55.  VIRGINIA,  HOUSE  OF  DELEGATES.  Report  /  and  /  Resolutions  /  con- 
cerning /  The  Citation  of  the  Commonwealth,  /  to  answer  a  com- 
plaint before  /  The  Supreme  Court  /  of  the  /  United  States.  /  [Printed 
by  order  of  the  House  of  Delegates.]  /  Richmond:  /  Printed  by  Thomas 
Ritchie,  /  Printer  for  the  Commonwealth.  /  1821. 

8vo,  pp.  24.  Philip  I.  Cohen  and  Mendez  I.  Cohen  were  the  plain- 
tiffs in  the  Supreme  Court.  LCP. 

1822 

56.  BOSTON,  BAPTIST  FEMALE  SOCIETY.  Constitution  /  of  the  /  Baptist 
Female  Society  /  of  /  Boston  and  Vicinity  /  for  /  Promoting  the  Con- 
version of  the  Jews;  /  Organized,  October  24th,   1822.  /With  /An 
Address  on  the  Subject.  /  (three-line  quotation)  /  Boston:  /  Printed  by 
Thomas  Badger,  Jun.  /  No.  10  Merchants'  Hall  /  1822. 

8vo,  pp.  8.  Abraham  Karp. 

57.  IRVING,  c.  A  Catechism  /of  /Jewish  Antiquities  /  Containing  / 
An  Account  /  of  the  /  Classes,  Institutions,  Rites,  Ceremonies,  Man- 

204 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

ners,  /  Customs,  &c.  /  of  the  /  Ancient  Jews.  /  Adapted  to  the  use  of 
Schools  in  the  /  United  States.  /  With  Engraved  Illustrations.  /  By 
C.  Irving,  LL.D.  /  Holyrood-house,  Southampton.  /..../  First  Amer- 
ican Edition,  Revised  and  Improved.  /  New- York:  /  F.  and  R.  Lock- 
wood,  154  Broadway.  /  1822,  /  Gray  &  Hewit,  Printers. 
I2mo,  pp.  80,  frontispiece.  AAS. 

58.  MONTEFIORE,  JOSHUA.   Commercial  and  Notarial  /  Precedents:  / 
consisting  of  /  The  Most  Approved  Forms,  /  special  and  common,  / 
required   in  /  the   daily  transactions   of  business,  /  by  /  Merchants, 
Traders,  Notaries,  Attornies,  &c.  Each  set  of  precedents  preceded  by  / 
A  summary  of  the  law  on  the  subject.  /  Particularly  on  /  Bills  o 
Exchange,  Insurance,  Salvage,  &c.  /  By  Joshua  Montefiore,  /  Attor- 
ney and  Notary  Public  of  the  City  of  London.  /  Second  American, 
from  the  last  London  Edition,  /  with  /  An  Introduction,  /  and  /  Con- 
siderable Alterations  and  Additions,  /  By  Clement  C.  Biddle,  Notary 
Public.  /  Philadelphia:  /  H.  C.  Carey  &  I.  Lea  —  Chesnut  Street,  / 
and  H.  C.  Carey  &  Co.  No.  157,  Broadway,  New  York.  /  1822. 

8vo,  pp.  xx,  480.  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

59.  PENNSYLVANIA    INSTITUTION    FOR    THE   DEAF   AND    DUMB.    Deaf  and 

Dumb,  /  From  the   Columbian  Observer,  /  April  20,    1822.  /  .  .  .  / 
[Philadelphia:  1822.] 
4to,  pp.  2,  A  pro-Seixas  statement.  LCP. 

6O> m  Deaf  and  Dumb  School.  /  "On  evil  deeds,  censures  ac- 
cumulate." /  .  .  .  /  [signed]  Anti-Persecutor.  [Philadelphia:  1822.] 
Folio,  broadside.  A  pro-Seixas  statement.  LCP. 

61.  sous,  JACOB  s.  Circular.  /  In  compliance  with  my  pledge  . .  .  / 
.  ,  .  /  Mount  Pleasant,  Westchester  County,  N.  Y.  /  P.  S.  — J.  S.  S. 
will  call  for  the  answer  to  this  Circular.  /  [2nd  page:]  The  Plan  /  For 
Improving  the  Condition  of  Jewish  Youth  of  Both  Sexes,  /  by  Jacob 
S.  Solis.  /  Mount  Pleasant,  Westchester  County,  N.  Y.  /  .  .  .  [n.  p.: 
1822?] 
4to,  pp.  2.  EW2. 

205 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

1823 

62.  AMERICAN  SOCIETY  FOR  MELIORATING  THE  CONDITION  OF  THE  JEWS. 

The  American  Society,  /  For  Meliorating  the  Condition  of  the  Jews,  / 
Was  formed  in  New- York  in  1820:  /  Whose  Object  is  thus  Stated  —  / 
(cap.  title)  . . .  /  (colop:)  Wm.  Riley,  Printer,  41  Broadway,  Charleston. 
[1823]. 
8vo,  pp.  4.  Rutgers  University. 

63.  CUMBERLAND,  RICHARD.  The  Jew.  /  A  Comedy.  /  In  five  acts.  / 
By  Richard  Cumberland,  Esq.  /  As  performed  at  the  Philadelphia 
Theatre.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Published  by  Thomas  H.  Palmer.  /  1823. 

i6mo,  pp.  67,  (i).  HUG. 

1824 

64.  ENGLISH,  GEORGE  BETHUNE.  Five  Pebbles  /  from  /  The  Brook.  / 
being  /  A  Reply  /  to  /  "A  Defence   of  Christianity"  /  written  by  / 
Edward  Everett,  /  Greek  Professor  of  Harvard  University.  /  In  answer 
to  /  "The  Grounds  of  Christianity  Examined  /  by  /  Comparing  the 
New  Testament  with  the  Old."  /  By  /  George  Bethune  English.  /  [five 
lines  of  biblical  quotations}  /  Philadelphia:  Printed  for  the  Author.  /  1824. 

I2mo,  pp.  124,  (2).  EW2. 

65.  [GOLDSMITH,  MORRIS.]  i8th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [91]  /  Report  / 
Of  the  Committee  of  Claims  in  the  case  of  Goldsmith  and  Roderick,  / 
with  a  bill  for  their  relief.  /  March  22,  1824.  /  Read,  and,  with  the 
bill,  committed  to  a  committee  of  the  whole  House  to-morrow.  /  .  .  . 
[Washington,  1824.] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  Approving  a  claim  of  Morris  Goldsmith  for  payment  of 
services  rendered  in  arresting  pirates  while  he  was  acting  as  deputy  to 
the  Marshal  for  the  State  of  South  Carolina  in  1819-20.  LCP. 

66.  [LEVY,  JACOB  c.]  A  /  Table  /  of  the  Corresponding  Prices /of/ 
Cotton,  /  Shipped  from  the  United  States,  /  and  /  sold  in  Liverpool,  / 
from  /  five  pence  to  two  shillings  /  Rising  by  Farthings;  /  And  Ex- 
change  on  /  London  /  from  par  to   sixteen  per  cent  /  Premium.  / 
Charleston  /  Printed  by  Gray  &  Ellis,  No.  9  Broad-Street  /  1824. 

i6mo,  pp.  26.  Levy's  name  appears  in  the  copyright  as  "author  and 
proprietor."  LCP. 

206 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

66a.  HILLHOUSE,  JAMES  ABRAHAM.  Scena  Quarta  /  del  /  Quinto  Atto  / 
di  /  Adad,  /  Poema  Drammatico.  /  Del  Signer  Giacomo  A.  Hill- 
house.  /  Tradotta  in  verso  Italiano  /  da  /  L.  Da  Ponte.  /  E  /  Dedicata 
rispettosamente  /  alia  Signora  Cornelia  Hillhouse.  /  Sua  veneratissima 
allieva.  /  New-York:  /  Stampatori  Gray  e  Bunce.  /  1825. 

i6mo,  pp.  17.  This  is  Rosenbach  274  of  which  no  copy  was  located 
and  no  detailed  description  given.  EW2. 


1825 

67.  MOORE,  CLEMENT  c.  A  /  Lecture  /  introductory  to  /  The  Course  of 
Hebrew  Instruction  /  in  the  /  General  Theological  Seminary  /  of  the  / 
Protestant  Episcopal  Church  /  in  the  /  United  States,  /  Delivered  in 
Christ  Church,  New- York,  on  the  Evening  of  /  November  i4th,  1825.  / 
By  /  Clement  C.  Moore,  A.M.  /  Professor  of  Oriental  and  Greek 
Literature.  /  New-York:  /  Printed  by  T.   and  J.   Swords.  /  No.   99 
Pearl-street.  /  1825. 

8vo,  pp.  28.  LCP, 

68.  NORTON,  ELIJAH.  The  /Jew's  Friend,  /  By  which  all  their  doubts 
are  removed  respecting  /  Melchizedec,  /  Compared  with  Christ;  /  And 
proved  to  be  the  same  person  and  /  True  Messiah;  /  And  Contains  an 
Answer-  to  all  Socini-  /  an  and  Unitarian  Arguments  /  against  the 
Trinity.  /  By  Elijah  Norton,  /  Minister  of  the  Gospel.  / /  Dedi- 
cated to  the  Rev.  F.  Frey,  for  /  the  Conversion  of  the  Jews  under  his 
min-  /  istry  at  New- York,  and  in  all  the  world.  /  Woodstock:  /  Printed 
by  David  Watson.  /  1825. 

24010,  pp.  48.  AAS. 

1826 

69.  LOPEZ,  MATHIAS,  ed.  Lopez  and  Wemyss'  Edition.  /  The  Acting 
American  Theatre.  /  Marmion;  /  or,  /  The  Battle  of  Flodden  Field.  / 
A  Drama,  /  in  Five  Acts.  /  By  James  N.  Barker,   Esq.  /  with  /  A 
Portrait  of  Mr.  Duff,  /  in  the  /  Character  of  Marmion.  /  The  Plays 
carefully  corrected  from  the  Prompt  Books  of  the  /  Philadelphia 
Theatre.  /  By  M.  Lopez,  Prompter.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Published  by 
A.  R.  Poole,  and  Ash  &  Mason:  P.  Thompson,  /  Washington:  H.  W. 
Bool,  Baltimore:  E.  M.  Murden,  New  /  York.  For  the  Proprietors,  and 

207 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

to  be  had  of  /  all  the  principal  booksellers  in  /  the  United  States.  / 
Price  to  non-subscribers,  Fifty  Cents.  [1826] 

I2mo,  pp.  62,  and  portrait.  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

70, .  Lopez  and  Wemyss'  /  Edition.  /  The  /  Acting  American 

Theatre. /The  Tragedy  of  /  Superstition, /by /James  N.  Barker, 
Esq.  /  Author  of  Mannion  A  Tragedy,  &c.  /  with  a  portrait  of  / 
Mrs.  Duff,  /  in  the  character  of  /  Mary.  /  The  Plays  carefully  cor- 
rected from  the  Prompt  books  of  the  /  Philadelphia  Theatre.  /  By  M. 
Lopez,  Prompter,  /  Published  by  A.  R.  Poole,  Chesnut  Street,  /  For 
the  Proprietors.  /  And  to  be  had  of  all  the  principal  booksellers  in  the  / 
United  States.  /  Price  to  non-subscribers,  Fifty  cents.  [1826] 
I2mo,  pp.  68,  and  portrait.  LCP. 

7oa. .  Lopez  &  Wemyss'  /  Edition.  /  The  /  Acting  American 

Theatre.  /  Wild  Oats,  /  with  a  portrait  of  Mr.  Francis,  /  (Father  of 
the  American  Stage,)  /  as  /  Sir  George  Thunder.  /  The  Plays  carefully 
corrected  from  the  Prompt  books  of  the  /  Philadelphia  Theatre.  /  By 
M.  Lopez,  Prompter.  /  Published  by  A.  R.  Poole,  Chesnut  Street.  / 
For  the  Proprietors,  /  And  to  be  had  of  all  the  principal  booksellers 
in  the  /  United  States.  /  Price,  37^  cents.  /  J.  R.  M.  Bicking,  Printer, 
—  1826. 

I2mo,  pp.  82  and  portrait.  EW2. 

71. .  Lopez  and  Wemyss'  /  Edition.  /  The  /  Acting  American 

Theatre.  /  The  Old  Maid,  /  A  Comedy  in  two  acts,  /  By  Mr.  Mur- 
phy. /  With  a  portrait  of  /  Mrs.  Francis,  /  as  /  Miss  Harlow.  /  The 
Plays  carefully  corrected  from  the  Prompt  books  of  the  /  Philadelphia 
Theatre.  /  By  M.  Lopez,  Prompter.  /  Published  by  A.  R.  Poole, 
Chesnut  Street,  /  For  the  Proprietors.  /  And  to  be  had  of  all  the 
principal  booksellers  in  the  /  United  States.  /  Price  to  non-subscribers, 
Fifty  cents.  [1826] 
i2mo,  pp.  35.  LCP. 

7 1 a.  MORE,  HANNAH.  Sacred  Dramas,  /  by  / Hannah  More. /To 
which  are  added  /  Reflections  of  King  Hezekiah;  /  Sensibility,  a 
Poem;  /  and  /  Search  after  Happiness.  /  Princeton  Press:  /  Published 
by  D.  A.  Borrenstein.  /  1826. 

i6mo,  pp.  209.  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

208 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAIC  A  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

72.  PONTE,  LORENZO  DA.  Assur,  Re  d'Ormus:  /  Drama,  /  di  /  Lorenzo 
da  Ponte.  /  Imitato  da  Tarar  /  di  /  Beaumarchais.  /  Messo  in  musica  / 
da  /  A.    Salieri.  /  Pel   Teatro   imperiale   di   Vienna.  /  New-  York:  / 
Stampatori  Giovanni  Gray  e  Co.  /  1826. 
I2mo,  pp.  47.  LCP. 


73-  -  •  H  /  Don  Giovanni,  /  Dramma  Eroicomico,  /  di  /  Lorenzo 
Da  Ponte,  /  Composto  da  lui  per  la  Nozze  del  Principe  Antonio  di  / 
Sassonia  —  Colla  Principessa  M.  Teresa  Figlia/dell'  Impr.  Leo- 
poldo.  /  E  messo  in  musica  dall'  immortale  /  V.  Mozzart.  /  Nova- 
Jorca,:  /  Stampatori  Giovanni  Gray  e  Co.  /  1826. 

i2mo,  pp.  51.  An  entirely  different  edition  from  Rosenbach  288. 
LCP. 

1827 

74.  [PHILLIPS,  JONAS  B.]  Tales  /  for  /  Leisure  Hours,  /  [six-line  quota- 
tion from  "  Winter  Evenings**}  /  Philadelphia.  /  Atkinson  &  Alexander, 
Printers.  /  1827. 

i2mo,  pp.  162.  LCP  (Presentation  copy  from  the  author). 

75.  [SAUL,  JOSEPH.]  The  /Opinion  /of  /The  Supreme  Court  /of/ 
The  State  of  Louisiana,  /  on  a  question  /  arising  in  /  The  Cause  / 
of  /  Saul  vs.  His  Creditors,  /  whether,  /  In  the  case  of  a  Marriage 
contracted  in  a  State,  governed  by  the  /  Common  Law  of  England, 
between  Parties  there  residing,  /  but  who  afterwards  remove  to  Lou- 
isiana, and  there  /  acquire  property,  such  property  on  the  dissolution  / 
of  the  Marriage  should  be  regulated  by  the  /  Laws  of  the  Country 
where  the  /  Marriage  was  contracted,  /  or  of  that  where  it  /  was 
dissolved.  /  New-Orleans:  /  Printed  by  Benjamin  Levy,  /  Corner  of 
Chartres  and  Bienville  streets.  /  1827. 

8vo,  pp.  24.  Joseph  Saul  was  married  in  Virginia  in  1794,  moved  to 
Louisiana  in  1804,  and  his  wife  died  in  Louisiana  in  1819.  LCP. 

76.  The  /  Young  Jewess:  /  A  Narrative  /  illustrative  of  the  /  Polish 
and  English  Jews  /  Of  the  Present  Century.  /  Exhibiting  the  /  Superior 
Moral   Influence  /  of  /  Christianity.  /  From  the  London  Edition.  / 
Boston:  /  Published  by  James  Loring,  /  No.  132  Washington-street.  / 
1827. 

i2mo,  pp.  1  80,  woodcut  frontispiece.  LCP. 

209 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

1828 

77.  [HAYS,    ISAAC,    ed.]    American    Ornithology;  /  or  /  The   Natural 
History  /  of  the  /  Birds   of   the    United    States.  /  Illustrated    With 
Plates  /  Engraved  and  coloured  from  original  drawings  taken  /  from 
nature.  /  By  Alexander   Wilson.  /  With   a  sketch  of  the   Author's 
Life,  /  By  George  Ord,  F.L.S.  &c.  /  In  Three  Vols.  —  Vol.  I  (-III).  / 
Published   by   Collins    &    Co.,    New   York,  /  and  /  Harrison   Hall, 
Philadelphia.  /  1828. 

8vo,  3  vols.,  and  4to  atlas  of  plates,  pp.  cxcix,  231;  456;  vi,  396;  and 
76  plates.  Although  Isaac  Hays's  name  does  not  appear  as  the  editor 
of  this  edition,  the  Dictionary  of  American  Biography  states  that  he 
was.  An  unsigned  editor's  preface  appears  on  pp.  [v]-vi.  EW2. 

78.  PHILLIPS,  ZALEGMAN.  To  the  Electors  /  Of  the  Second  Congressional 
District  of  the  State  of  /  Pennsylvania.  /  . .  .  [signed  at  end:]  Zalegman 
Phillips.  /  Philadelphia,  August  I5th,  1828. 

8vo,  pp,  15.  LCP. 

1829 

79.  HAYS,   ISAAC,   ed.   Elements  /  of  /  Physics,  /  or  /  Natural   Philos- 
ophy, /  General  and  Medical,  /  explained  independently  of  /  Tech- 
nical Mathematics,  /  and  containing  /  new  disquisitions  and  practical 
suggestions.  /  By  Neil  Arnott,  M.D.,  /  of  the  Royal  College  of  Physi- 
cians. /  First  American  from   the    Third    London   Edition,  /  With 
Additions,  /  By  Isaac  Hays,  A.M.,  MIX,  &c.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Carey, 
Lea  &  Carey —  Chesnut  Street.  /  1829. 

8vo,  pp.  532.  College  of  Physicians  of  Philadelphia. 


1830 

80.  ABRAHAM,  RICHARD.  A  /  Catalogue  /  of  /  Italian,  Flemish,  Span- 
ish, Dutch,  French,  /  and  English  /  Pictures;  /  which  have  been  col- 
lected in  Europe  and  brought  to  /  this  country  by  /  Mr.  Richard 
Abraham,  /  Of  New  Bond  Street,  London,  /  and  are  /  Now  Exhibit- 
ing /  at  the  /  American  Academy  of  Fine  Arts.  /  New  York:  /  Printed 
by  Christian  Brown,  /an  Water  Street.  /  1830. 
8vo,  pp.  53.  LCP. 

210 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE    185! 

81.  BALTIMORE,     HEBREW    CONGREGATION.     Constitution  /  and  /  By- 
Laws  /  of  the  /  Hebrew  Congregation  /  Nitgy  Israel  /  of  the  /  City  of 
Baltimore.  /  5590.  /  Baltimore:  /  Printed  by  Sands  &  Neilson,  /  at  the 
Chronicle  Office.  /  1830. 

i6mo,  pp.  14.  MW. 

82.  [CARDOZO,  JACOB  N.]    2ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Rep.  No. 
306.]  /  Ho.  of  Reps.  /  J.  N.  Cardozo.  /  March  17,  1830.  /  Mr.  Over- 
ton,  from  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  .  .  .  [Washington,  1830.] 

8vo,  pp.  2,  Releasing  Cardozo  from  a  contract  with  the  government 
for  printing  in  the  Charleston  Southern  Patriot.  LCP. 

83.  MADDEN,  RICHARD  ROBERT.  Travels  /  in  /  Turkey,  Egypt,  Nubia,  / 
and  /  Palestine,  /  in    1824,    ^s,    1826,    and    1827. /By/ R.    R- 
Madden,  Esq.,  M.R.C.S.  /  In  Two  Volumes.  /  Vol.  I.  (-II)  /  Phila- 
delphia: /  Carey  &  Lea.  /  1830. 

2  vols.,  i2mo,  pp.  250;  238.  Dedicated  to  Moses  Montefiore.  EW2. 

84.  MONTEFIORE,  JOSHUA.  Synopsis  /  of  /  Mercantile  Laws,  /  with  an  / 
Appendix:  /  Containing  the  most  approved  forms  of  notarial  and 
commercial  /  precedents,  special  and  common,  required  hi  the  daily  / 
transaction  of  business.  /  By  Merchants,  Traders,  Notaries,  Attornies, 
&c.  /  A  New  Edition  /  Revised,  corrected  and  enlarged,  with  refer- 
ence to  the  /  alterations  effected  by  the  revised  statutes  /  of  the  State 
of  New- York. /By  Joshua    Montefiore: /Attorney,    Solicitor,    and 
Notary  Public,  Author  of  the  Commercial  Diction-  /  ary,  Notarial 
and   Commercial  Precedents,   Law  of  Insolvents,  /  &c.   &c.   &c.  / 
New-York:  /  G.  &  C.  &  H.  Carvill.  /  1830. 

8vo,  pp.  xxvii,  [164],  336,  [2].  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

85.  NEW  YORK,  HESRA  HASED  VA  AMET.  Hebra  Hased  Va  Amet.  /  To 
the  Ladies  /  of  the  /Jewish  Persuasion.  /  The  Committee  appointed 
by  the  Hebra  Hased  Va  Amet,  to  adopt  such  measures  as  /  may  be 
deemed  expedient  for  the  formation  of  a  Society  of  the  Ladies  .../•••/ 
Isaac  B.  Seixas,  /  Myer  Levy,  /  Aaron  H.  Judah,  /  Solomon  Seixas,  / 
Samuel  N.  Judah.  /  New  York,  isth  March,  1830.  [New  York:  1830] 

8vo,  broadside.  American  Jewish  Historical  Society  (Lyons  Collec- 
tion). 

211 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

1831 

86.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed*  Elements  /  of  /  Physics,  /  or  /  Natural  Philos- 
ophy, /  General  and  Medical,  /  explained  independently  of  /  Tech- 
nical Mathematics,  /  and  containing  /  new  disquisitions  and  practical 
suggestions.  /  In  Two  Volumes.  /  Vol.  L  /  By  Neil  Arnott,  M.D.,  / 
of  the  Royal  College  of  Physicians.  /  Second  American  from  the 
Fourth  London  Edition.  /  With  Additions,  /  By  Isaac  Hays,  A.M., 
M.D.,  &c.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Carey  and  Lea  —  Chesnut  Street.  /  1831. 
i2mo,  pp.  552.  Apparently  Hays  did  not  edit  the  first  part  of  Vol.  II 
which  appeared  the  same  year.  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

87. m  History  /  of  /  Chronic  Phlegmasiae,  /  or  /  Inflamma- 
tions, /  founded  on  /  clinical  experience  and  pathological  anatomy,  / 
exhibiting  a  view  of  /  the  different  varieties  and  complications  of  these 
diseases,  /  with  their  /  Various  Methods  of  Treatment.  /  By  F.  J.  V. 
Broussais,  M.D.  /  [six  lines  of  titles]  /  Translated  from  the  French  of 
the  Fourth  Edition,  /  By  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.  /  and  /  R.  Eglesfield 
Griffith,  M.D.  /  Members  of  the  American  Philosophical  Society, 
of  the  Academy  of  Natural  Sciences,  Honorary  /  Members  of  the 
Philadelphia  Medical  Society,  &c.  &c.  /  Volume  L  /  Philadelphia:  / 
Carey  &  Lea./  1831. 

8vo,  pp.  497.  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

88. .  Select  /  Medico-Chirurgical  /  Transactions;  /  A  Collec- 
tion /  of  the  /  Most  Valuable  Memoirs  /  read  to  the  /  Medico- 
Chirurgical  Societies  of  London  and  Edinburgh;  the  Association  /  of 
Fellows  and  Licentiates  of  the  King  and  Queen's  College  of  /  Physi- 
cians in  Ireland;  the  Royal  Academy  of  Medi-  /  cine  of  Paris;  the  Royal 
Societies  of  London  and  /  Edinburgh;  the  Royal  Academy  of  Turin;  / 
the  Medical  and  the  Anatomical  So-  /  cieties  of  Paris,  &c,  &c.  &c.  / 
Edited  by  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.  /  Philadelphia:  /  E.  L.  Carey  and  A. 
Hart,  /  Fourth  and  Chesnut  St.  /  1831. 
8vo,  pp.  4,  420.  EWa. 

89.  LEO-WOLF,  JOSEPH.  Observations  /  on  the  /  Prevention  and  Cure  / 
of/  Hydrophobia.  /  According  to  the  latest  publications  in  Germany.  / 
Read  before  the  New- York  Medical  and  Philosophical  Society,  /  By 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAIC  A  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

Joseph  Leo- Wolf,  M.D.,  /  Physician  in  the  City  of  New- York.  /  [one- 
line  quotation  from  Bacon]  /  New  York:  /  G.  &  C.  &  H.  Carvill.  /  1831. 
8vo,  pp.  31.  LCP. 

90.  MYERS,  MOSES.  2ist  Congress,  /  2<l  Session.  /  [Doc.  No.  70.]  /  Ho. 
of  Reps.  /  Memorial  of  Moses  Myers.  /January  24,  1831.  /  Referred 
to  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means.  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:  1831.] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  Asking  compensation  for  outstanding  bonds  after  being 
relieved  as  collector  of  the  District  of  Norfolk  and  Portsmouth  in 
1827-30,  LCP. 

1832 

91.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed.  Principles  /of/  Physiological  Medicine,  /  in  the  / 
form  of  propositions,  /  embracing  /  Physiology,  Pathology,  and  Thera- 
peutics, /  with  /  Commentaries  /  on  those  relating  to  /  Pathology.  /  By 
F,  J.  V.  Broussais,  M.D.  /  [six  lines  of  titles]  /  Translated  from  the 
French,  /  By  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.  /  and  /  R.  Eglesfield  Griffith,  M.D.  / 
Members  of  the  American  Philosophical  Society,  of  the  Academy  of 
Natural  Sciences,  Honorary  /  Members  of  the  Philadelphia  Medical 
Society,  &c.  &c.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Carey  &  Lea.  /  1832. 

8vo,  pp.  594.  EW2. 

92.  Nicholas  Biddle  /  and  the  /  Bank.  /  Loans  and  Discounts.  /  "Fair 
business  transactions."  /  . . .  /  [1832] 

8vo,  pp.  14.  Entirely  concerned  with  M.  M.  Noah's  loan  from  the 
Bank  of  the  United  States  to  buy  out  his  partner  in  the  New  Tork 
Courier.  LCP. 

93.  PEDCOTTO,  DANIEL  L.  M.  New  York,  August  i,  1832.  /  Sir,  /  I  deem 
it  my  duty  to  call  your  attention  to  the  propriety  of  so  modifying  the 
observance  of  the  /  Fast,  which  takes  place  on  the  ninth  of  Ab.  (Sunday 
next,)  as  not  to  expose  those  who  strictly  keep  it,  /  to  incur  the  pesti- 
lential disease  .../.../  Very  respectfully,  /  Daniel  L.  M.  Peixotto, 
M.D.  [New  York,  1832] 

4to,  broadside.  Dropsie  College. 

94.  PHILLIPS,  JONAS  ALTAMONT.  Philadelphia,  August  6,  1832.  /At  a 
meeting  of  the  Committee  of  Correspondence,  for  the  /  City  of  Phila- 

213 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

delphia  .../.../  S.  Badger,  Chairman.  /  J.  A.  Phillips,  Secretary.  / 
Address  /  Of  the  Committee  of  Correspondence  for  the  City  of  Phila-  / 
delphia,  appointed  by  the  Democratic  Convention  of  the  /  State  of 
Pennsylvania,  held  at  Harrisburg,  March  5,  1832.  /  .  . .  /  [colopkon:] 
Printed  by  Mifflin  &  Parry,  at  the  office  of  "The  Pennsylvanian,"  / 
No.  59  Locust  street,  Philadelphia.  [1832] 

8vo,  pp.  8.  Phillips  was  also  one  of  the  signers  of  the  address.  EW2. 

1833 

95.  [GRATZ,  MICHAEL.]  2$d  Congress,  ist  Session.  /  [Rep.  No.  71.]  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Michael  Gratz.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  81.]  / 
December  23,  1833.  /  Mr.  Marshall,  from  the  Committee  on  Revolu- 
tionary  Claims,   made   the  /  following  /  Report:  /  . .  .  [Washington, 

1833-] 

8vo,  p.  i.  Ordering  the  payment  of  the  continental  loan  office 
certificates,  issued  to  Gratz  in  1779  for  supplies  bought  in  the  West 
Indies.  LCP. 

96.  [HOLFORD,  GEORGE  PETER.]  The /Destruction /of /Jerusalem,  / 
An  Absolute   and   Irresistable  /  Proof  /  of  the   Divine   Origin   of  / 
Christianity:  /  Including  a  Narrative  of  the  /  Calamities  which  Befel 
the  Jews.  /  So  far  as  they  tend  to  verify  /  Our  Lord's  Predictions  / 
Relative  to  that  Event.  /  With  a  Brief  Description  of  the  /  City  and 
Temple.  /  Millbury,  Mass:  /  Printed  and  Published  by  B.  T,  Albro.  / 
1833. 

24mo,  pp.  96,  with  frontispiece*  AAS. 

97.  The  /  Manners  and  Customs  /  of  the  Jews,  /  and  other  Nations 
mentioned    in    the    Bible.  /  Illustrated    by    120    Engravings.  /  First 
American    Edition.  /  Hartford:  /  Published    by    Henry    Benton.  / 
1833. 

I2mo,  pp.  vi,  172.  This  was  included  in  error;  it  is  Rosenbach  362. 
MW. 

98.  PONTE,  LORENZO  DA.  A  /  History  /  of  the  /  Florentine  Republic:  / 
and  of /The  Age  and  Rule /of /The  Medici.  /  By  /  Lorenzo  L. 
Da  Ponte,  /  Professor  of  Ital.  Lit.  in  the  University  of  the  City  of 

214 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

New-York.  /  Vol.  I  (-II).  /  New-York:  /  Collins  and  Hannay.  /  W.  E. 
Dean,  Printer.  /  1833. 

2  vols.,  ismOj  pp.  285;  293.  LCP. 

1834 

99.  BALTIMORE,  UNITED  HEBREW  BENEVOLENT  SOCIETY.    Constitution  / 

und  /  Neben-Gesetze  /  der  /  Vereinigten  hebraischen  wohlthatigen 
Gesellschaft  /  von  Baltimore,  /  errichtet  in  dem  Monate  tns^7  /  ntwi  / 
amn  antf*  fip'li  /  Baltimore.  /  Gedruckt  bey  Johann  T.  Hanzsche, 
Nord-Eutawstrasse.  /  1834. 

i6mo,  pp.  48.  English  title-page  supplied.  MW. 

100.  BENJAMIN,    JUDAH    P.,    and    SLIDELL,    THOMAS.     Digest  /  of    the/ 

Reported  Decisions  /  of  the  /  Superior  Court  of  the  late  Territory  of  / 
Orleans,  /  and  of  the  /  Supreme  Court  /  of  the  /  State  of  Louisiana.  / 
By  /  J.  P.  Benjamin  and  T.  Slidell,  /  Attorneys  at  Law.  /  New  Orle- 
ans: /  Printed  by  J.  F.  Carter,  /  Camp  Street.  /  1834. 
8vo,  pp.  479.  Howard-Tilton  Memorial  Library. 

101.  COHEN,  E.  A.,  &  co.  For  1834.  /  A  /  Full  Directory,  /  for  /  Wash- 
ington City,  Georgetown,  /  and  /  Alexandria:  Containing  /  [18  lines]  / 
Stages,  Etc.  /  By  E.  A.  Cohen  &  Co.  /  Pennsylvania  Avenue,  two 
doors  below  Gadsby's.  /  Washington  City,  /  Wm.  Greer.  /  1834. 

8vo,  pp.  56,  21,  62,  22,  (4).  LCP. 

102.  LEVY,  AARON.  Catalogue  /  of  /  Books,  /  being  /  the  Libraries  of 
the   late  /  Honourable   Cadwalader   D.    Golden,   and   Right /Rev. 
Bishop  Provost,  /  To  be  sold  at  Auction,  /  on  /  Tuesday  Evening,  May 
6th,  /  And  continued  until  the  whole  is  Sold,  /  By  Aaron  Levy,  /  in 
the  /  Large  Sales  Room,  No.  128,  Broadway,  /  Sale  to  commence  at 
7  o'clock.  /  New- York:  /  Vinten  &  Elton,  Printers,  &  Wood  Engrav- 
ers, /  72  Bowery.  [1834] 

i2mo,  pp.  33.  AAS. 

103.  LEVY,  URIAH  PHILLIPS.  23d  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Doc.  No. 
240.]  /  Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Statue  of  Jefferson.  /  Letters  /  from  /  Lieuten- 
ant Levy,  of  the  United  States  Navy,  /  Presenting  to  Congress  a 

215 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 


statue  of  Thomas  Jefferson.  /  March  25,    1834.  /Referred   to   the 
Committee  on  the  Library.  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:]  Gales  &  Seaton, 
print.  [1834] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LGP. 


104.  NORFOLK    COUNTY,    VIRGINIA,    CITIZENS.    2$d    Congress,  /  ISt    SeS- 

sion.  /  [364]  /  Memorial  and  Resolutions  /  of  /  the  Citizens  of  Norfolk 
County,  Virginia,  /  Against  the  measures  of  the  Executive  in  removing 
the  Deposites  from  /  the  Bank  of  the  United  States.  /  May  13,  1834.  / 
.  .  .  /  [Washington:  1834.] 

8vo,  pp.  6.  John  B.  Levy  signed  the  memorial  as  chairman  of  the 
citizens'  committee.  LCP. 

105.  [PHILLIPS,  ZALEGMAN.]  23d  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [83]  /  Pro- 
ceedings /  of  a  /  Meeting  of  Democratic  Citizens  of  Philadelphia,  /  In 
favor  of  the  removal  of  the  Public  Deposites  from  the  Bank  of  the  / 
United  States.  /  February  10,  1834.  /Referred  to  the  Committee  of 
Finance,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  ,  .  .  /  [Washington:  1834.] 

8vo,  pp.  5.  The  text  is  largely  the  preamble  and  resolutions  of 
Phillips,  which  the  meeting  unanimously  adopted.  LCP. 

1  06.  [RUNDALL,  MARY  ANN.]  The  /Juvenile  Sacred  History,  /  contain- 
ing the  /  Principal  Events  /  recorded  in  /  The  Old  Testament,  /  with 
an  account  of  the  Jewish  Literature,  /  Manners,  Customs  and  An- 
tiquities; the  Weights  and  Measures,  and  Nummary  /  Value  of  all  the 
Jewish  Coins,  /  reduced  to  the  American  Standard:  with  an  Ex-/ 
planation  of  the  /  Hebrew  Names;  /  and  Geographical  Sketches  of 
the  /  Twelve  Tribes,  /  accompanied  with  six  maps;  /  and  a  set  of 
appropriate  questions  for  /  Examination  of  Students.  /  Third  Edition 
revised.  /  By  /  C.  W.  Bazeley,  A.M.  /  Principal  of  the  Brooklyn 
Collegiate  /  Institute.  /  Brooklyn:  /  Printed  for  the  Author;  and  sold 
by  William  /  Bigelow,  55  Fulton-street.  /  1834. 

I2mo,  pp.  228,  frontispiece  and  five  maps  and  charts  on  yellow 
paper.  EWs. 

107.  UNITED  STATES,  CONGRESS,  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES.  23d  Con- 

gress,  /2d  Session.  /  [Doc.  No.  41.]  /Ho.  of  Reps.  /  War  Dept.  / 
216 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

David  Cooke.  /  Report  /  of  /  the  Secretary  of  War,  /  On  the  claim 
of  David  Cooke.  /  December  27,  1834.  /  . . .  /  [Washington:]  Gales  & 
Seaton,  print.  [1834] 

8vo,  pp.  5.  Simon  Gratz  was  attorney  for  one  of  the  parties  involved. 
LCP. 


1835 

1 08.  CAREY,  EDWARD  L.,  and  HART,  ABRAHAM.  Trade  List  of  Books,  / 
Published,  and  Offered  for  Sale  to  the  Trade,  by  /  E.  L.  Carey  and 
A.    Hart,  /  Philadelphia.  /January  i,  1835.  /  .  .  .  /  [Philadelphia: 
Carey  and  Hart,  1835.] 

4to,  broadside.  EW2. 

io8a.  [GRATZ,  JACOB.]  Annual  Report  /  of  the  /  Managers  /  of  the  / 
Union  Canal  Company  /  of  /  Pennsylvania,  /  to  /  The  Stockholders.  / 
November  17,  1835.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Printed  for  R-  p-  Desilver.  / 

1835- 
8vo,  pp.  n,  (3).  Signed  by  Gratz  as  president.  LCP. 

io8b.  JUDAH,  SAMUEL  B.  H.  David  and  Uriah.  /A  Drama,  /in  five 
acts;  /  founded  on  the  exploits  of  the  man  after  /  God's  own  heart.  / 
(two-line  quotation  from  Epictetus]  /  Philadelphia:  /  Published  by  the 
author.  /  1835. 

I2mo,  pp.  35.  American  Jewish  Historical  Society. 

109.  LEO-WOLF,  WILLIAM  (or  WERNER).  Remarks  /  on  /  The  Abraca- 
dabra / of  the  / Nineteenth  Century;  /or  on / Dr.  Samuel  Hahne- 
mann's  /  Homoeopathic   Medicine,  /  with  particular  reference  to  / 
Dr.  Constantine  Bering's  /  "Concise  View  of  the  Rise  and  Progress  of 
Homoeopathic   Medicine,"   Philadelphia.    1833.  /  B7  William  Leo- 
Wolf,  M.D.  /  [four-line  quotation  from  Pope]  /New-York:  1835.  /Pub- 
lished by  Carey,  Lea  and  Blanchard,  in  Philadelphia. 

8vo,  pp.  272.  LCP. 

no.  [PORTER,  DAVID.]  Constantinople  /  and  Its  Environs.  /  In  a  Series 
of  Letters,  /  exhibiting  /  the  actual  state  of  the  manners,  customs,  and 

217 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

habits  of/  the  Turks,  Armenians,  Jews,  and  Greeks,  as  modified  /  by 
the  policy  of  Sultan  Mahmoud.  /  By  an  American,  /  long  resident  at 
Constantinople.  /  In    Two    Volumes.  /  Vol.   I   (-II).  /  New-York:  / 
Published  by  Harper  &  Brothers,  /  No.  82  Cliff-Street.  /  1835. 
2  vols.,  i2mo,  pp.  280;  323.  LCP. 

1836 

in.  HEINE,  HEINRIGH.  Letters  /  Auxiliary  to  the  history  of/  Modern 
Polite  Literature  /  in  Germany.  /  By  Heinrich  Heine,  /  Translated 
from  the  German,  /By  G.  W.  Haven.  /Boston:  /James  Munroe  & 
Company.  /  1836. 

I2mo,  pp.  vi,  172.  MW. 

ma.  [GRATZ,  JACOB.]  Annual  Report  /of/  The  Managers  /  of  the  / 
Union  Canal  Company  /  of  Pennsylvania,  /  to  /  The  Stockholders.  / 
November  15,  1836.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Printed  by  Charles  Alexander,  / 
Athenian  Buildings,  Franklin  Place.  /  1836. 

8vo,  pp.  7,  (3).  Signed  by  Gratz  as  president.  LCP, 

112.  [LEVY,  NATHAN.]  24th  Congress,  /  ist  Session./  [Rep.  No.  705.] 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Nathan  Levy.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  658.]  / 
May  31,  1836.  /Mr.  Cushman,  from  the  Committee  on  Commerce, 
made  the  following  /  Report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:]  Blair  &  Rives, 
printers.  [1836] 

8vo,  p.  i .  Concerning  claim  for  money  paid  by  Levy  as  American 
Consul  at  St.  Thomas  in  1832.  LCP. 

1837 

113.  GATHERWOOD,  FREDERICK.  Description  /  of  /  A  View  of  the  City  / 
of /Jerusalem  /  and  /  the  Surrounding  Country,  /  Now  Exhibiting  / 
at  /  The  Panorama,  Charles  Street.  /  Painted  by  Robert  Burford,  / 
from  Drawings  Taken  in   1834,  /  by   F.   Catherwood,  Architect.  / 
Boston:  /  Printed  by  Perkins  and  Marvin.  /  1837. 

8vo,  pp.  12,  folding  plate.  AAS. 

114.  A  /  Compendium  /  of /Jewish  History,  /  exhibited  hi  the  form 
of  a  /  Catechism,  /  designed  /  for  the  use  of  Sabbath  Schools  /  Second 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE  185! 

Edition,  /  Revised  and  Corrected.  /  Boston:  /  Abel  Tompkins,  /  Uni- 
versalist  Sabbath  School  Depository  /  Cornhill.  /  1837. 
I2mo,  pp.  50.  HUG. 

115.  [LEVY,  NATHAN.]  25th  Congress,  /  sd  Session.  /  [Rep.  No.  87.]  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Nathan  Levy.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  103.]  / 
December  22,  1837.  /Mr.  Cushman,  from  the  Committee  on  Com- 
merce, made  the  following  /  Report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:]  Thomas 
Allen,  print.  [1837] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCR 


1838 

1 1 6.  FEUCHTWANGER,  LEWIS.  A  /  Treatise  on  Gems,  /  in  reference  to 
their  /  Practical  and  Scientific  Value;  /  A  useful  guide  for  the  jewel- 
ler, amateur,  artist,  lapidary,  /  mineralogist,  and  chemist.  Accom- 
panied by  a  de-  /  scription  of  the  most  interesting  American  /  gems, 
and    ornamental    and    arch-  /  itectural    materials.  /  By    Dr.    Lewis 
Feuchtwanger,  /  Chemist  and  Mineralogist,  Member  of  the  New  York 
Lyceum  of  Natural  History,  and  of  the  /  Mineralogical  Societies  of 
Jena,  Altenburg,  etc.  etc.  etc.  /  New- York:  /  Printed  by  A.  Hanford.  / 

1838. 
8vo,  pp.  162.  EW2. 

117.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed.  Elements/of /Physics; /or, /Natural  Philos- 
ophy, /  General    and    Medical:  /  written    for  /  universal   use,  /  in  / 
Plain  or  Non-Technical  Language;  /  and  containing  /  new  disquisi- 
tions and  practical  suggestions.  /  In  Two  Volumes.  /  Vol.   I.  /By 
Neil  Arnott,  M.D.,  /  of  the  Royal  College  of  Physicians.  /  Fourth 
American,  from  the  Fifth  English  Edition,  /  With  Additions,  /  By 
Isaac  Hays,  M.D.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Lea  &  Blanchard,  /  Successors  to 
Carey  &  Co.  /  1838. 

8vo,  pp.  592.  Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania. 


1839 

1 1 8.  JUDAH,  SAMUEL,  and  PARKER,  SAMUEL  w.  Speeches  /  of  Samuel 
Judah,  of  Knox,  /  and  S.  W.  Parker,  of  Fayette  Counties,  /  in  answer 

219 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

to  the  charge  of  /  Amos  Lane,  of  Dearborn  County,  /  that  the  internal 
improvement  system  was  a  Democratic  Whig  measure.  [1839?] 
8vo,  pp.  14.  Indiana  State  Library. 

119.  [LEVY,  E.]  The  Republican  Bank:  /  being  /  An  Essay /on  the 
Present  System  of  /  Banking:  /  showing  its  evil  tendency  and  develop- 
ing an  entire-  /  ly  new  method  of  establishing  a  currency,  /  which  will 
not  be  at  all  subject  /  to  the  various  ill  effects  /  of  our  present  /  paper 
money. /By /A   Citizen  of  Indiana.  /  Price   25   Cts.  /  Madison:  / 
Printed  by  W.  H.  Webb  —  Banner  Office.  /  1839. 

8vo,  pp.  24,  with  wrappers.  This  was  included  in  error;  it  is  Rosen- 
bach  448.  Indiana  State  Library. 

120.  [LEVY,  MOSES  E.]  25th  Congress,  /  3d  Session.  /  Rep.  No.  236.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Moses  E.  Levy.  /January  26,  1839.  /  Read,  and  laid 
upon  the  table.  /  Mr.  Saltonstall,  from  the  Committee  of  Claims,  sub- 
mitted the  fol-  /  lowing  /  Report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:]  Thomas  Al- 
len, print.  [1839] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  Concerning  the  claim  of  Levy  for  the  destruction  of  his 
property  by  United  States  troops  during  the  Indian  War  in  Florida. 
LCP. 

121.  [LEVY,  NATHAN.]  25th  Congress,  /  3d  Session.  /  Rep.  No.  238.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Nathan  Levy.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  1099.]  / 
February  6,  1839.  /  Mr.  Cushman,  from  the  Committee  on  Commerce, 
made  the  following  /  Report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:]   Thomas  Allen, 
print.  [1839] 

8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

1840 

122.  BENJAMIN,    JUDAH    P.,     and    SLIDELL,    THOMAS.    Digest  /  of    the/ 

Reported  Decisions  /  of  the  /  Superior  Court  of  the  Late  Territory  of  / 
Orleans,  /  and  of  the  Supreme  Court  /  of  the  /  State  of  Louisiana.  / 
Originally  compiled  by  /J.  P.  Benjamin  and  T.  Slidell,  Attorneys  at 
Law,  /  and  now  revised  and  enlarged  by  /  Thomas  Slidell.  /  New 
Orleans:  /  E.Johns  &  Co.,  Stationers'  Hall:  /  1840. 
8vo,  pp.  xii,  758.  Howard-Tilton  Memorial  Library. 

220 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

123.  CHARLESTON,  CITIZENS.  Proceedings  /  of  a /Public  Meeting  of 
the  Citizens  of  Charleston,  /  held  at  the  City  Hall,  /  on  the  28th 
August,  1840;  /  in  relation  to  the  /  Persecution  of  the  Jews  /  in  the 
East.  /  Also,  /  the  proceedings  of  a  meeting  /  of  the  /  Israelites  of 
Charleston,  /  convened  at  the  /  Hall  of  the  Hebrew  Orphan  Society,  / 
on  the  following  evening,  /  in  reference  to  the  same  subject.  /  Charles- 
ton: /  Hayden  &  Burke,  Printers,  3  Gillon-Street.  /  1840. 

8vo,  pp.  32.  HUG. 

124.  [COHEN,  JACOB.]  26th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /Rep.  No.  233.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Heirs  of  Jacob  Cohen.  /  March  5,  1840.  /  Laid  on  the 
table.  /  Mr.  Ely,  from  the  Committee  on  Revolutionary  Claims,  made 
the    fol-  /  lowing  /  Report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:]     Blair    &     Rives, 
Printers.  [1840] 

8vo,  p.  i.  Rejection  of  the  claim  of  the  heirs  of  Jacob  Cohen  of 
Virginia  for  five  years5  pay  as  captain  of  cavalry  in  the  Continental 
Army.  LCP. 

125.  [LEVY,  NATHAN.]  26th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  Rep.  No.  72.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Nathan  Levy.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  59.]  / 
March  3,  1840:  /Mr.  Toland,  from  the  Committee  on  Commerce, 
made  the  following  /  Report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:]  Blair  &  Rives, 
printers.  [1840] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  Ordering  refund  to  Nathan  Levy,  of  Boston,  of  payment 
made  to  seamen  of  disabled  vessel.  LCP. 


126.  M'GAUGHEY,  EDWARD,  PARKER,  SAMUEL  w.,  and  JUDAH,  SAMUEL. 
Speeches  /  of  /  Edward  M'Gaughey,  of  Putnam,  Samuel  W.  Parker, 
of/  Fayette  and  Samuel  Judah  of  Knox.  /  [Indianapolis:  1840?] 

8vo,  pp.  23.  Indiana  State  Library. 

127,  PEDCOTTO,  SIMHA  c.   Elementary  Introduction  /  to  the  /  Scrip- 
tures, /  for  the  /  Use  of  Hebrew  Children.  /  By  /  Simha  C.  Peixotto.  / 
[two-line  quotation  from  Proverbs]  /  Philadelphia:  /  Printed  by  Haswell, 
Barrington,  and  Haswell.  /  5600  [1840]. 

i2mo,  pp.  196.  EW2. 

221 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

I27a.  PHILLIPS,  PHILIP.  Digest  of  Cases  /  decided  and  reported  in  /  the 
Supreme  Court  of  the  State  of  Alabama,  /from/  ist  Alabama  Re- 
ports to  yth  Porter  inclusive;  /  with  the  /  Rules  of  Court  and  Prac- 
tice, /  and  /  a  Table  of  Titles  and  Cases;  to  which  are  appended,  / 
the  Declaration  of  Independence;  the  Constitution  of  the  United  / 
States;  the  Act  to  enable  the  People  of  Alabama  to  form  /  a  Constitu- 
tion and  State  Government,  etc.;  the  /  Constitution  of  the  State  of 
Alabama;  /  and  the  Fee  Bill  established  /  by  Law.  /  By  P.  Phillips,  / 
Counsellor  at  Law.  /  [3-line  quotation^  /  Mobile:  /  Printed  and  Pub- 
lished by  R.  R.  Dade  and  J.  S.  Kellogg  &  Co.  /  1840. 

8vo,  pp.  xlviii,  9-350.  Circuit  Court  Library,  Birmingham,  Alabama. 

128.   UNITED  STATES,  CONGRESS,  SENATE.  26th  CongTCSS,  /  ISt  Session.  / 

[Senate.]  /  [437]  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  April  28,  1840.  / 
Submitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Hubbard  made  the 
following  /  Report:  /  The  Committee  of  Claims,  to  whom  was  referred 
the  memorial  of  Susan  /  Murphy,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:]  Blair 
&  Rives,  printers.  [1840] 
8vo,  pp.  7.  David  Levy  was  attorney  for  the  memorialist.  LCP. 


1841 

129.  HACKENBURG,    JUDAH    L.,    ALLEN,    LEWIS,    LEESER,    ISAAC,    ET    AL. 

Circular.  /  Philadelphia,  Ab,  5601,  July,  1841. /To  the  President 
and  Members  of  Congregation  at  /  the 

Israelites  of  Philadelphia,  send  greeting.  /  Brethren!  /.../!•  L. 
Hackenburg,  /  Lewis  Allen,  /  Isaac  Leeser,  /  Simon  Elfelt,  /  Mayer 
Arnold,  /  Henry  Cohen,  /Jacob  Ulman.  /  Committee.  [Philadelphia: 
1841.] 

Folio,  pp.  3.  A  call  for  a  union  of  the  Hebrew  congregations  of  the 
United  States.  EW2. 

130.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed.  Elements/of /Physics; /or, /Natural  Philos- 
ophy, /  General    and    Medical:  /  written   for  /  universal    use,  /  in  / 
plain  or  non-technical  language;  /  and  containing  /  new  disquisitions 
and  practical  suggestions.  /  Comprised  in  Five  Parts,  ist,  Somatology, 
Statics,  /  and  Dynamics.  /  2nd,  Mechanics.  /  3rd,  Pneumatics,  Hy- 
draulics, and  /  Acoustics.  /  4th,  Heat  and  Light.  /  5th,  Animal  and 

222 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE  185! 

Medical    Physics.  /  Complete    in    One    Volume.  /  By   Neil   Arnott, 
M.D.,  /  of  the  Royal  College  of  Physicians.  /  A  Nefa  Edition,  revised 
and  corrected  from  the  last  English  Edition,  /  With  Additions,  /  By 
Isaac  Hays,  M.D.,  /  Philadelphia:  /  Lea  &  Blanchard.  /  1841. 
I2mo,  pp.  520,  [16].  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

131.  [JUDAH,  SAMUEL.]  State  of  New- York.  /  No.  78.  /  In  Assembly,  / 
January  27,  1841.  /  Communication  /  From  the  Governor,  trans- 
mitting a  resolution  of  the  /  General  Assembly  of  Indiana,  relative  to 
an  /  amendment  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United  /  States.  /  .  . .  / 
[Albany:  1841.] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  Signed  by  Samuel  Judah  as  Speaker  of  the  Indiana  House. 
HUG. 

132. .  /  26th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [197]  /Reso- 
lutions /  of  /  the  General  Assembly  of  Indiana,  /  in  relation  /  To  the 
completion  of  the  Cumberland  Road.  /  February  17,  1841.  /  . . .  / 
[Washington:]  Blair  &  Rives,  printers.  [1841] 

8vo,  pp.  4.  One  of  the  resolutions  was  signed  by  Judah  as  Speaker  of 
the  Indiana  House.  LCP. 

133. .  /  26th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [207]  /  Reso- 
lutions /  of  /  the  General  Assembly  of  Indiana,  /  in  relation  /  To  the 
distribution  of  the  proceeds  of  the  sales  of  the  public  lands.  /  February 
22,  1841.  /  . . .  /  [Washington:]  Blair  &  Rives,  printers.  [1841] 

8vo,  pp.  3.  One  of  the  resolutions  was  signed  by  Judah  as  Speaker 
of  the  Indiana  House.  LCP. 

134. .  26th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [208]  /  Reso- 
lution /  of  /  The  General  Assembly  of  Indiana,  /  on  the  subject  /  Of 
raising  revenue  by  duties  on  foreign  goods.  /  February  22,  1841.7 
. .  .  /  [Washington:]  Blair  &  Rives,  printers.  [1841] 
8vo,  p.  i .  Signed  by  Judah  as  Speaker  of  the  Indiana  House.  LCP. 

135- •  s6th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [209]  /  Resolu- 
tions /  of  /  the  General  Assembly  of  Indiana,  /  in  relation  /  To  the 
bill  "to  establish  a  permanent  prospective  pre-emption  system  in/ 
favor  of  settlers  on  the  public  lands  who  shall  inhabit  and  cultivate 

223 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

the /same,  and  raise  a  log-cabin  thereon."  / February  22,  1841.7 
•  •  •  /  [Washington:]  Blair  &  Rives,  printers.  [1841] 

8vo,  p.  i.  Signed  by  Judah  as  Speaker  of  the  Indiana  House.  LCP, 

1 36.  LEVY,  DAVID.  Speech  /of/  Mr.  Levy,  of  Florida,  /  on  his  motion  / 
To  postpone  to  the  next  session  the  consideration  of  the  report  and 
reso-  /  lution  of  the  Committee  of  Elections  respecting  his  eligibility  to 
a  seat  /  as  Delegate.  Delivered  September  6,  1841.  /  . . .  /  [Washing- 
ton: 1841.] 

8vo,  pp.  7.  HUG. 

137. •   27th  Congress,  /  i st   Session.  /  Res.   No.    i./Ho.   of 

Reps,  /  Seminole  Indians. /July  29,    1841. /Read,  laid  upon  the 
table,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Levy  submitted  the  following  / 
Resolutions.  /  . . .  [Washington,  1841.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

jjjg, 9 1  g^th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  Rep,  No.  10.  /  Ho.  of 

Reps.  /  David  Levy.  /  September  3,  1841.  /  Read,  and  laid  upon  the 
table.  /  Mr.  Halsted,  from  the  Committee  of  Elections,  submitted  the 
following  /  Report:  /  . . .  [Washington:  1841.] 

8vo,  pp.  45.  Concerning  the  right  of  David  Levy  (Yulee)  to  a  seat 
in  the  House  of  Representatives.  EWa. 

139.  LIPMAN,  HYMEN  L.  Diary,  /  for  /  1842:  /  or  /  Daily  Register,  / 
for  the  use  of /private  families,  /  and  /  Persons  of  Business:  /  con- 
taining /  a  blank  for  every  day  hi  the  year,  for  the  record  /  of  events 
that  may  be  interesting,  /  either  past  or  future.  /  Published  yearly,  / 
By  Hymen  L.  Lipman,  /  (successor  to  Samuel  M.  Stewart,)  /  Stationer 
&  Blank  Book  Binder,  /  No.  139  Chestnut  Street,  Philadelphia  [1841] 

i2mo,  pp.  126.  HUG. 

140.  [MORDECAI,  ALFRED.]  Ordnance  Manual  /  for  /  The  Use  of  the 
Officers  /  of  the  /  United  States  Army.  /  Washington:  /  J.  and  G.  S. 
Gideon,  Printers.  /  1841. 

8vo,  pp.  xi,  359,  and  15  plates.  LCP. 

141. .  /  26th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [229]  /  Doc- 
uments /  relating  /  To  the  improvements  of  the  system  of  artillery.  / 

224 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAIC  A  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

March  2,    1841.  /  Submitted  by  Mr.  Benton,  and  ordered  to  be 
printed.  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  1841.] 

8vo,  pp.  in.  Captain  Alfred  Mordecai  was  one  of  four  Ordnance 
officers  who  wrote  the  report.  LCP. 


1842 

142.  [ANLEY,  CHARLOTTE.]  Miriam;  /or,  /The  Power  of  Truth.  /A 
Jewish  Tale.  /  By  the  Author  of  "Influence."  /  A  new  Edition,  Revised 
and   Improved,  /  with  an  /  Introduction  /  by  /  Rev.  John  Todd,  / 
. . .  /  Philadelphia:  /  Griffith  &  Simon,   188  North  Third  Street,  / 
and  /  384  North  Second  Street.  /  1842. 

I2mo,  pp.  292.  AAS. 

143.  [COHEN,  JACOB.]  27th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  Rep.  No.  371.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Representatives  of  Jacob  Cohen.  /  March  8,  1842.  / 
Laid  upon  the  table.  /  Mr.  Hall,  from  the  Committee  on  Revolu- 
tionary Claims,  made  the  following  adverse  /  Report:  /  . . .  [Washing- 
ton, 1842.] 

8vo,  pp.  3.  LCP. 

144.  [JUDAH,  SAMUEL  BENJAMIN  HALBERT.]  Spirit /of/  Fanaticism:  / 
A  /  Poetical  Rhapsody.  /  [four-line  quotation]  /  New- York:  /  Published 
at  the  "Beacon"  Office,  /  94  Roosevelt-Street.  /  1842. 

I2mo,  pp.  12.  EW2. 

145.  [LEVY,  DAVID.]  27th  Congress, /2d  Session.  /  Rep.  No.  450.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  David  Levy.  /  March  15,  1842,  /  Read,  and  laid  upon 
the  table.  /  Mr.  Barton,  from  the  Committee  of  Elections,  to  which 
the  subject  had  /  been  referred,  submitted  the  following  /  Report:  / 
. .  .  /  [Washington,  1842.] 

8vo,  pp.  154,  6,  3.  Concerning  the  right  of  David  Levy  (Yulee)  of 
Florida  to  his  seat  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  EW2. 

j^S, .  /  27th  Congress,  /  3d  Session.  /  Doc.  No.  15.  /  Ho.  of 

Reps.  /  Florida  Contested  Election.  /  December  14, 1842.  /  Laid  upon 
the  table.  /  .  , .  [Washington,  1842.] 
8vo,  pp.  13.  LCP. 

225 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

147.  [LEVY,  SARAH.]  27th  Congress,  /  sd  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [44]  / 
In  the  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /January  n,  1842.  /  Ordered  to 
be  printed.  /  Mr.  Smith,  of  Indiana,  submitted  the  following  /  Re- 
port: /  The  Committee  on  Public  Lands,  to  whom  were  referred  the 
petition  and  papers  of  Sarah  Levy,  of  Camden,  South   Carolina, 
report:  / .  .  ,  /  [Washington:]  Thomas  Allen,  print.  [1842] 

8vo,  p.  i.  Concerning  the  claim  of  Sarah  Levy  to  the  right  of  pre- 
emption of  land  in  Mississippi  occupied  and  cultivated  by  her  son, 
CoL  Chapman  Levy.  LCP. 

148.  [LYON,  ABRAHAM,]  27th  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  Rep.  No.  257.  / 
Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Abraham  Lyon.  /  February  26,  1842.  /  Read,  and  laid 
upon  the  table.  /  Mr.  Jones,  of  Maryland,  from  the  Committee  on 
Invalid  Pensions,  submitted  the  following  /  Report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washing- 
ton: 1842.] 

8vo,  p.  i.  Turning  down  the  petition  of  Abraham  Lyon,  of  Spring- 
field, Clark  County,  Ohio,  for  an  increase  of  pension  because  of  wounds 
suffered  in  military  service.  LCP. 

149.  LYONS,  MORDEGAI,  and  HART,  THOMAS.  Catalogue  /  of  a  Rare  and 
Valuable   Collection  /  of  fine   modern   and   old  /  Engravings,  /  the 
various  masters  of  the  celebrated  /  schools,  /  Rare  Etchings  &  Original 
Drawings,  /  and  /  Curious   &   Rare   Old  Works,   Illustrated.  /  The 
greater  part  of  this  collection  has  been  /  lately  collected  in  Europe.  / 
Lyons  &  Hart,  Auctioneers,  /  will  sell  on  /  Friday  and  Saturday 
Evenings,  Oct.  7th  and  8th,  /  at  seven  o'clock,  /  at  their  /  Public 
Sale  Rooms,  /  N.  E.  Corner  of  Chesnut  and  Fourth  Streets.  —  Up 
Stairs,  /  .  .  .  /  "United  States"  Job  Printing  Office,  Ledger  Bulling 
[sic],  Philad'a  [1842]. 

8vo,  pp.  24.  LCP. 

1 50. .  Catalogue  /  of  a  /  very  valuable  collection  /  of  old  line  / 

Engravings,  Etchings,  /  Fac-similes,  Mezzotintos,  Drawings,  /  and  / 
Books  on  the  Arts,  /  collected  during  many  years,  for  the  pleasure  and  / 
improvement  of  the  owner.  /  Lyons  &  Hart,  Auctioneers,  /  will  sell 
on /Friday  Evening,  3oth  inst.,  &  Saturday,  Oct.  ist,  /  at  seven 
o'clock,  /  at  their  /  Public  Sale  Rooms,  /  N.  E.  Corner  of  Chesnut 
226 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

and  Fourth  Streets.  —  Up  Stairs.  /  .  .  .  /  "United  States"  Job  Printing 
Office,  Ledger  Builing  [sic],  Philad'a  [1842]. 
8vo,  pp.  16.  LCP. 


1843 

151.  BISHOP,  MARGARET  L.  An  Answer  /  to  the  /  Prevalent  Inquiry/ 
"What  Strange  Doctrine  is  This?"  /  In  Three  Chapters.  /  By  Mar- 
garet L.  Bishop,  /  Native  of  Scotland.  /  Member  of  the  Society  sur- 
named    Israelites.  /  New    York:  /  Printed    at   the    Herald    Printing 
Establishment,  97  Nassau  Street  /  1843. 

8vo,  pp.  16.  HUG. 

i52a.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed.  A  /  Treatise  /  on  the  /  Diseases  of  the  Eye.  / 
By  /  W.  Lawrence,  F.  R.  S.  /  [four  lines  of  titles]  /  From  the  last 
London  Edition,  /  with  numerous  additions,  and  /  Sixty-Seven  Illus- 
trations. /  By  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.,  /  Surgeon  to  Will's  Hospital,  Phy- 
sician to  the  Philadelphia  Orphan  Asylum,  /  Member  of  the  American 
Philosophical  Society,  &c.,  &c.,  &c.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Lea  &  Blan- 
chard.  /  1843. 

8vo,  pp.  778.  EW2. 

152.  PYKE,  E.  Scriptural  Questions.  /  for  the  /  Use  of  Sunday  Schools  / 
for  /  the  Instruction  of  Israelites.  /  Compiled  /  by  E.  Pyke.  /  Phila- 
delphia: /  Printed  by  L.  R.  Bailey,  26  North  Fifth  Street.  /  1843. 

I2mo,  pp.  1 8.  American  Jewish  Historical  Society. 

153.  TENTLER,    AARON    A.    A  /  New    System  /  for  /  Measuring    and 
Gutting  /  Ladies'  Dresses.  /  Cloaks,  Collars,  Capes,  Yokes,  &c.  /  with 
an  /  Arithmetical  Table,  /  For  which  the  Author  received  a  Patent 
from  the  United  States.  /  By  Aaron  A.  Tentler.  /  New- York:  /  Robert 
Craighead,  Printer,  112  Fulton  Street,  /  1843. 

I2mo,  pp.  1 8.  Copyrighted  hi  Philadelphia  hi  1842.  EW2. 

1844 

154.  [CARDOZA,    SARAH.]    28th   Congress,  /  ist   Session,  /  [Senate.]  / 
[327]  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  6,  1844.  /  Submitted, 

227 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Bates  made  the  following  /  Report:  / 
.  .  .  [Washington,  1844.] 

8vo,  p.  i .  Denying  the  petition  of  Sarah  Gardoza  for  the  increase 
of  her  pension.  LCP. 

155.  GRESSON,  WARDER.  Jerusalem  /  the  /  Centre  and  Joy /of /The 
Whole  Earth  /  and  /  The  Jew  /  The  Recipient  of  the  Glory  of  God  / 
[six  lines  of  quotations]  /  By  Warder  Cresson  /  Philadelphia: /Jesper 
Harding,  Printer  /  1844 

I2mo,  pp.  in.  Abraham  Karp. 

156.  MORDEGAI,  ALFRED,  Third  Report  /  of  /  Meteorological  Observa- 
tions, /  made  at  /  Frankford  Arsenal,  near  Philadelphia.  /  By  Captain 
Alfred  Mordecai,  /  of  the  United  States  Ordnance  Department.  /  1844, 

4to,  pp.  8.  Copy  formerly  in  possession  of  Dr.  A.  S.  W.  Rosenbach, 
now  unlocated. 

1845 

157.  AMERICAN  JEWISH  PUBLICATION  SOCIETY.  Circular,  /  of  the  Amer- 
ican Jewish  Publication  Society,  to  the  Friends  of  Jewish  Literature.  / 
. . .  /  Philadelphia,  /  Deer.  10, 1845.  /  Kislev  1 1, 5606.  /  Isaac  Leeser,  / 
Corresponding  Secretary  of  the  American  Jewish  Publication  Society. 
[Philadelphia:  1845] 

4to,  broadside.  Dropsie  College. 

158. .  Constitution  /  and  /  By-Laws  /  of  the  /  American  Jew- 
ish Publication  /  Society.  /  (Founded  on  the  gth  of  Heshvan,  5606.)  / 
Adopted  at  Philadelphia,  /  on  Sunday,  November  30,  1845,  Kislev  i, 
5606.  /  Philadelphia:  /  C.  Sherman,  Printer.  /  5606  [1845]. 
i2mo,  pp.  ii.  EW2. 

159.  CASTANIS,  c.  PLATO.  A  /  Love  Tale.  /  The  /  Jewish  Maiden  of 
Scio's  Citadel,  /  or  /  The  Eastern  Star,  /  and  /  The  Albanian  Chief.  / 
By  /  C.  Plato  Castanis,  /  of  Scio,  Greece.  /  Author  of  An  Essay  on 
Ancient  and  Modern  Greek  Languages;  /  Interpretations  of  the 
Attributes  of  the  Principal  Fabulous  Deities,  /  and  The  Exile  of 
Scio.  /  Second  Edition.  /  Copy-right  secured.  /  Philergomathia:  / 
1845.  /  Price,  12^  Cents. 
8vo,  pp.  24,  (i).  HUG. 

228 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

160.  A  /  Compendium  /  of /Jewish  History.  /  Boston:  /  A.  Tompkins, 
38  Cornhill.  /  1845. 

I2mo,  pp.  50.  HUG. 

161.  MORDECAI,  ALFRED.  Report  /  of  /  Experiments  on  Gunpowder,  / 
made  at  /  Washington  Arsenal,  /  in  /  1843  and  1844.  /  By  /  Captain 
Alfred   Mordecai,  /  of  the   Ordnance  Department.  /  Washington:  / 
Printed  by  J.  and  G.  S.  Gideon,  /  1845. 

8vo,  pp.  viii,  328,  and  six  plates.  EWa. 


1846 

162.  [DE  LEON,  M.  H.]  29th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [236]  / 
In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  March  18,  1846.  /  Submitted,  and 
ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Ashley  made  the  following  /  Report:  / 
•  •  •  /  [Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss,  print.  [1846] 

8vo,  p.  i .  Approving  the  memorial  of  M.  H.  De  Leon,  as  executor  of 
Thomas  Cooper,  for  reimbursement  of  a  fine  imposed  under  the 
Sedition  Act  of  1798.  LCP. 

163.  [ETTING,    HENRY.]     2gth    Congress,  /  ist    Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
[110]  /In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  3,  1846. /Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Fairfield  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss,  print.  [1846] 

8vo,  p.  i.  Approving  claim  of  Henry  Etting  for  legal  expenses  con- 
nected with  suit  brought  by  him  for  damages  incurred  while  he  was 
purser  in  the  United  States  Navy  at  Pensacola  in  1838.  LCP, 

164.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed<  A  /  Dictionary  /  of  /  Terms  Used  in  Medicine  / 
and  the  Collateral  Sciences.  /  By  /  Richard  D.  Hoblyn,  A.  M.  Oxon.  / 
First  American,  from  the  Second  London,  Edition.  /  Revised,  with 
numerous  additions,  /  By  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.,  /  Editor  of  the  American 
Journal  of  the  Medical  Sciences,  /  Philadelphia:  /  Lea  &  Blanchard.  / 

1846. 

I2mo,  pp.  402  [8].  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

165.  LEVIN,  LEWIS  CHARLES,  2gth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  Rep.  No. 
253.  /  Ho.  of  Reps.  /  Dry  Dock.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  2 16 .]  / 
February  12,  1846.  /  Mr.  Levin,  from  the  Committee  on  Commerce, 

229 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

made  the  following  /  Report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss, 
print.  [1846]. 
8vo,  pp.  4.  LCP. 

166. .  Speech  /of/  Hon.  L.  C.  Levin,  of  Pennsylvania,  /  on 

the  /  Oregon  Question.  /  In  the  House  of  Representatives,  January  9, 
1846—  .  . .  /  [Washington,  1846] 
8vo,  pp.  8.  LCP. 

167. .  Speech  /  of  /  Mr.  L.  C.  Levin,  of  Pennsylvania,  /  on 

the  bill  to  raise  /  A  Regiment  of  Mounted  Riflemen.  /  Delivered  in 
the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States,  April  7,  1846.  / 
Washington:  /  J.  &  G.  S.  Gideon,  Printers.  /  1846. 
8vo,  pp.  1 6.  LCP. 

1 68.  NEW  YORK,  GEMILETH  CHESED.  State  of  New-York.  /  No.  62.  / 
In  Assembly, /January  22,  1846.  /  Introduced  on  notice  by  Mr. 
Stevenson,  read  twice,  and  referred  to  the  /  committee  on  charitable 
and  religious  societies;  reported  from  said  committee,  /  and  committed 
to  the  committee  of  the  whole.  /  An  Act  /  To  incorporate  the  Gemileth 
Chesed  or  Hebrew  Mu-  /  tual  Benefit  Society  of  the  city  of  New- 
York.  /  .  .  .  /  [Albany:  1846] 
Folio,  pp.  2.  HUG. 

169. ,  HEBREW  ASSISTANCE  SOCIETY.  State  of  New-York.  /  No. 

243.  /  In  Assembly,  /  February  24,  1846.  /  Reported  by  Mr.  Fleet, 
from  the  committee  on  charitable  and  religious  socie-  /  ties  —  read 
twice,  and  committed  to  the  committee  of  the  whole.  /  An  Act  /  For 
the  incorporation  of  the  New-York  Hebrew  As-  /  sistance  Society,  for 
the  relief  of  Widows  and  Or-  /  phans,  /  .  . .  /  [Albany:  1846.] 
Folio,  pp.  2.  HUG. 

170.  [PAGE,  BEN.]  The  /Doctrines  /of  /  Spinoza  and  Swedenborg/ 
Identified;  /  so  far  as  they  claim  a  scientific  ground.  /  In  /  four 
letters. /By  ***/  United  States  Army.  /Boston:  /Published  by 
Munroe  and  Francis.  /  New  York:  /  Charles  S.  Francis  &  Co.  / 
1846. 
8vo,  pp.  36.  HUG. 

230 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   1851 
171.    PHILADELPHIA,    GERMAN    HEBREW   FEMALE    BENEVOLENT    SOCIETY. 

Hebrew  Ball,  /  in  aid  of  the  /  German  /  Hebrew  Female  Benevolent 
Society,  /  at  the  /  Chinese  Museum,  Upper  Saloon,  /  with  Bazaar 
Fixtures,  /  Wednesday  Evening,  January  28,  1846.  /  .  .  .  [Philadel- 
phia, 1846.] 

8vo,  broadside.  Invitation,  printed  in  gold.  EWa. 


172.  RICHMOND,  BETH  SHALOME.  "Dl^P   H^    tPHp    ^Plp"  /  To  OUr   Con- 

tributor's  and  Israelitish  Brethren  of  the  State  of  Virginia:  /  Brethren:  / 
The  period  is  near  at  hand  when  we  shall  be  called  upon  to  elect  a  / 
Hazan  of  this  Congregation,  .  .  .  /Jacob  A.  Levy,  /  Henry  Hyman,  / 
Jacob  Ezekiel.  /  Trustees.  /  Richmond,  August  loth,  1846.  /  Mena- 
chem  1  8th,  5606.  /  [Richmond:  1846.] 

4to,  broadside.  HUG  (Ezekiel  Scrapbook). 

173.  SUE,  EUGENE.  Der  ewige  Jude  /  von  /  Eugen  Sue.  /  Erste  ameri- 
kanisch-deutsche    Ausgabe.  /  [four-line    quotation^  /  Erster    [-Zweiter] 
Band.  /  Philadelphia,  1846.  /  Herausgegeben  von  L.  A.  Wollenweber 
No.  277  Nord  Dritte  Strasse. 

2  vols.,  8vo,  pp.  v.  513;  576,  (i).  EW2. 

174.  YULEE,  DAVID  [LEVY],  sgth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
[126]  /In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  n,  1846.  /Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  81.]  /The  Committee  on  Pri- 
vate Land  Claims,  to  whom  was  referred  the  peti-  /  tion  of  Benja- 
min  Ballard,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:]   Ritchie  &  Heiss,  print. 
[1846] 

8vo,  p.  i.LCP. 

175-  -  •  2gth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [240]  /  In  Sen- 
ate of  the  United  States.  /  March  23,  1846.  /  Submitted,  and  ordered 
to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  /  Report:  /  [To  ac- 
company bill  S.  No.  129.]  /  The  Committee  on  Private  Land  Claims, 
to  whom  was  referred  the  peti-  /  tion  of  Robert  Barclay,  of  the 
State  of  Missouri,  report:  /  .  .  .  [Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss,  print. 
[1846] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

231 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

176. .  agth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate] .  /  [328]  /  In  Sen- 
ate of  the  United  States.  /  May  4,  1846.  /  Ordered  to  be 'printed.  / 
Mr.  Yulee  submitted  the  following  /  Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S. 
No.  173.]  /The  Committee  on  Private  Land  Claims,  to  whom  was 
referred  the  peti-  /  tion  of  William  Pumphrey,  report:  /  . .  .  /  [Wash- 
ington:] Ritchie  &  Heiss,  printers.  [1846] 
8vo,  pp.  5.  LCP. 


1847 

177.  [DE  LEON,  M.  H.]  2gth  Congress,  /  ad  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [180]  / 
In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  25,  1847.  /  Submitted, 
and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Ashley  made  the  following  /  Report:  / 
,  . .  /  [Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss,  print.  [1847] 

8vo,  p.  i .  Concerning  the  memorial  of  M.  H.  De  Leon.  LCP, 

178.  HAMMOND,  R.  p.  Head  Quarters.  /  Tampico  Troops.  /  Tampico, 
Mexico,  January  ist.  1847.  /  Orders.  N?  15.  / 1.  For  the  purpose  of 
regulating  the  collection  and  disbursement  of  the  pu-  /  blic  revenue 
of  Tampico,  the  following  gentlemen  to  wit,  Jose  Maria  Boeta,  /  Juan 
Haro,  Juan  G.  Castilla,  Henry  Levi  and  P.  B.  Taylor  will  constitute 
a  /  municipal  committee  .../.,./  By  order  of  Brig.  Genl.  Shields,  / 
R.  P.  Hammond.  /  Assist.  Adjt.  Genl.  /  .  . .  [Tampico,  Mexico:  1847.] 

Folio,  pp.  2.  With  Spanish  translation.  HUG. 

179.  HAYS,  ISAAC,  ed.  The  Principles  and  Practice /of  Ophthalmic 
Medicine  and  Surgery.  /  By  /  T,  Wharton  Jones,  FJR.S.,  /  .  .  .  with 
one  hundred  and  two  illustrations.  /  Edited  /  By  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.,  / 
Surgeon  to  Wills  Hospital,  Etc.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Lea  and  Blanchard.  / 
1847. 

i2mo,  pp.  xx,  509.  MW. 

1 80. .  Report  /  Of  the  Committee  appointed  under  the  6th 

Resolution,  adopted  /  by  the  National  Medical  Convention  which 
assembled  hi  New /York,  in  May,  1846.  [cap.  title]  [Philadelphia, 
1847.] 

8vo,  pp.  12.  Isaac  Hays  was  a  member  of  this  committee  to  draw 
up  a  code  of  Medical  Ethics.  LCP. 

232 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE  1851 

181. .  A  Treatise /on  the /Diseases  of  the  Eye.  /By/  W. 

Lawrence,  F.R.S.,  /  [four  lines  of  titles]  /  A  New  Edition.  /  Edited  with 
Numerous  Additions,  and  /  One  Hundred  and  Seventy-Six  Illustra- 
tions, /  By  Isaac  Hays,  M.D.,  /  Surgeon  to  Wills'  Hospital;  Physician 
to  the  Philadelphia  Orphan  Asylum;  /  Member  of  the  American 
Philosophical  Society;  Fellow  of  the  /  College  of  Physicians,  etc.  etc.  / 
Philadelphia:  /  Lea  and  Blanchard.  /  1847. 
8vo,  pp.  859,  32.  University  of  Pennsylvania. 

182.  TURNEY,  HOPKINS  L.  Remarks  /  of  /  Hon.  H.  L.  Turney,  of  Ten- 
nessee, /  on  the  resolutions  to  /  Expel  the  Editors  and  Reporter  of  the 
Washington  /  Union.  /  Delivered  /  In  the  Senate  of  the  United  States, 
February  12,  1847.  /  Washington:  /  Printed  at  the  Office  of  Blair  and 
Rives.  /  1847. 

8vo,  pp.  8.  The  resolution  had  been  offered  by  David  Yulee.  HUG. 

183.  YULEE,  DAVID  [LEVY].  2Qth  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
[no] /Statement /of /Vessels   in  Distress  at   Key   West, /from/ 
January  i  to  December  31,  1846.  /  February  3,  1847.  /  Submitted  to 
the  Senate  by  Mr,  Yulee,  referred  to  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary, 
and  ordered  /  to  be  printed.  .  . .  /  Washington:  /  Ritchie  &  Heiss, 
Printers.  /  1847. 

8vo,  pp.  5.  LCP. 

184. .  2gth  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate].  /  [140]  /  In  Sen- 
ate of  the  United  States.  /  February  8,  1847.  /  Submitted,  and  ordered 
to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  /  Report:  /  [To  ac- 
company bill  S.  No.  153.]  /The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to 
whom  were  referred  the  petition  and  /  documents  of  the  late  Andrew 
D.  Crosby,  a  purser  in  the  navy  of  the  /  United  States,  report:  / 
. .  .  /  [Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss,  print.  [1847] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

185. .  2gth  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  [141]  /  In  Sen- 
ate of  the  United  States.  /  February  8,  1847.  /  Submitted,  and  or- 
dered to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  /  Report:  /  [To 
accompany  bill  S.  No.  154.]  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to 
whom  were  referred  the  petition  and  /  documents  of  William  A. 

233 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 


Christian,  a  purser  in  the  navy  of  the  United  /  States,  report:  /  . .  .  / 
[Washington:]  Ritchie  &  Heiss,  printers.  [1847] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 


1848 

1 86.  BRUNETTI,  .  Description  /  of  /  the   Model  /  of  /  Antient 

Jerusalem,  /  Illustrative  of  /  the  Sacred  Scriptures  /  and  the  /  Writ- 
ings of  Josephus.  /  Boston:  /  N.  Southard  and  Geo.  Bliss.  /  1848. 

ismo,  pp.  36,  folding  plate.  AAS. 

187.  CORDOVA,  JACOB  DE.  Houston,  Texas,  September  24,   1848.  / 
Sir:  —  /  Many  enquiries  having  been  addressed  to  me  within  the 
last  six  /  months  respecting  Texas  Lands  and  the  liquidation  of  the  / 
Public  Debt  of  Texas, .../.../  [Houston:  1848.] 

8vo,  pp.  15.  LCP. 

1 88.  [HART,  BENJAMIN  F.]  30th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
Rep.  Com., /No.  157. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States. /May  18, 
1848.  /  Submitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the 
following  /  Report:  /  [To  accompany  S.  No.  267.]  /  The  Committee 
on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the  memo-  /  rial  of  the 
representatives  of  Benjamin  F.  Hart,  deceased,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Wash- 
ington: 1848.] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP, 

189.  [HAYS,   ISAAC.]    Code   of  Ethics  /  of  the  /  American  /  Medical 
Association.  /Adopted  May  1847.  /Philadelphia:  /T.  K.  and  P.  G. 
Collins,  Printers.  /  1848. 

8vo,  pp.  30.  Isaac  Hays  was  chairman  of  the  committee  which 
reported  the  code  to  the  National  Medical  Convention.  LCP  (presenta- 
tion copy  from  Hays  to  Dr.  James  Rush). 

190.  LEVIN,  LEWIS  CHARLES.  Speech  /  of  /  Mr.  L.  C.  Levin,  of  Penn.,  / 
on  /  The  Proposed  Mission  to  Rome,  /  Delivered  in  the  House  of 
Representatives  of  the  United  States,  March  2, 1848.  /  . .  .  /  [Washing- 
ton:] J.  &  G.  S.  Gideon,  Printers.  [1848] 

8vo.  pp.  16.  LCP. 

234 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE  1851 

lglm m  Thirtieth  Congress  —  First  Session.  /  Report  No.  106.  / 

[To  Accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  96.]  /  House  of  Representatives.  / 
Floating  Docks,  Basin,  and  Railways.  /January  19,  1848.  /  Mr.  Levin, 
from  the  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  made  the  fol-  /  lowing  /  Re- 
port: /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  1848] 
8vo,  pp.  7.  LCP. 

192.  [MORDECAI,  M.  c.]  Thirtieth  Congress  —  First  Session.  /  Ex.  Doc. 
No.  51.  /  House  of  Representatives.  /  Mail  from  Charleston,  Chagres, 
&c.  /  Letter  /  from  /  The  Postmaster  General,  /  transmitting  /  A  copy 
of  the  contract  made  with  M.  C.  Mordecai  for  taking  the  /  United 
States  mail  from  Charleston  to  Havana, . . .  /  [Washington:  1848.] 

8vo,  pp.  ii.  Mordecai  was  resident  in  Charleston,  S.  C.  LCP. 

193.  NEW    YORK,     GERMAN     HEBREW    BENEVOLENT    SOCIETY.     German 

Hebrew  Benev.  Society.  /  Charity  well  applied,  is  a  blessing  as  well  to 
him  who  bestows  as  to  him  /  who  receives.  /  .  .  .  /  Henry  Kayser, 
President,  /  Isaac  Dittenhoefer,  Vice-President,  /Joseph  Ochs,  Treas- 
urer, .  .  .  /  New  York,  October,  1848. 

4to,  broadside.  Announcement  of  5th  anniversary  dinner.  Dropsie 
College. 

194. .  Fifth  /  Anniversary  Dinner,  /  of  the  German  /  Hebrew 

Benevolent  Society, /on  Thursday  Nov.  gth,   1848  at  the /Apollo 
Saloons  No.  410  B'way.  /  Dinner  on  Table  at  6  o'clock. 
i6mo,  card.  Dropsie  College. 

195.  RICHMOND,    HEBREW   SCHOOL   FUND.    Second   Annual  /  Hebrew 
School  Fund  Ball,  /  in  aid  of  the  /  Hebrew  School  Fund  of  the  City 
of  Richmond.  /  The  pleasure  of  your  company  is  respectfully  solicited  / 
at  the  Hebrew  School  Fund  Ball,  on  Thursday  Eve-  /  ning,  February 
loth,  1848,  at  the  Exchange  Hotel.  /  . . .  /  [Richmond:  1848.] 

I2mo,  p.  i  (invitation).  HUG. 

196.  [RUSSELL,  ESTHER.]  Thirtieth  Congress  —  First  Session.  /  Report 
No.  1 12.  /  (To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  101.)  /  House  of  Representa- 
tives. /  Esther  Russell. /January  19,  1848. /Mr.  Donnell,  from  the 
Committee  on  Revolutionary  Pensions,  /  made  the  following  /  Re- 

235 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

port:  /  The  Committee  on  Revolutionary  Pensions,  to  whom  was 
referred  /  the  petition  of  Esther  Russell,  praying  for  an  increase  of 
pen-  /  sion,  report:  /  . . .  /  (Washington:  1848.) 

8vo,  pp.  3.  The  Committee  was  willing  to  report  a  bill  to  increase 
the  pension  of  the  widow  of  Philip  M.  Russell.  LCP. 

197.  [SALOMON,  HAYM  M.]  Thirtieth  Congress  —  First  Session,  /  Rep. 
No.  504.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  425.]  /  House  of  Representa- 
tives. /  H.  M.  Salomon.  /  April  26,  1848.  /  Mr.  TaUmadge,  from  the 
Committee  on  Revolutionary  Claims,  /  made  the  following  /  Report:  / 
The  Committee  on  Revolutionary  Claims,  to  whom  was  referred  the  / 
memorial  of  Haym  M.  Salomon,  legal  representative  of  Haym/ 
Salomon,  deceased,  report:  /  . , .  /  [Washington:  1848.] 

8vo,  pp.  3.  The  Committee  recommended  the  payment  of  Salomon's 
claim  by  a  grant  of  public  lands.  LCP. 

!g8. .  goth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  219. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States. /July  28,  1848. /Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Bright  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Revolutionary  Claims,  to  whom  was 
referred  the  /  memorial  of  H.  M.  Salomon,  "for  indemnification  for 
advances  /  of  money  made  by  his  father  during  the  revolutionary 
war,"  have /had  the  same  under  consideration,  and  respectfully 
report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and  Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 

8vo,  pp.  3,  The  Committee  resolved  that  the  claim  was  not  sus- 
tained for  lack  of  evidence.  LCP. 

199.  YULEE,  DAVID  [LEVY].  3oth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
Miscellaneous.  /No.  6.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /January 
12.  1848. /Read,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Amendment.  /  Pro- 
posed by  Mr.  Yulee  to  the  resolutions  submitted  by  Mr.  Dickinson  / 
on  the  I4th  December,  1847,  viz: .../.../  [Washington:]  Tippin  & 
Streeper,  printers.  [1848] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

200. .  3oth  Congress,  /  xst  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Miscellane- 
ous. /  No.  31.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /January  18,  1848.  / 
Read,  referred  to  the  Committee  on  Finance,  and  ordered  to  be 

236 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE    185! 

printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  submitted  the  following  /  Resolutions:  /  .  .  .  / 
[Washington:]  Tippin  &  Streeper,  printers.  [1848]. 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

201. .  30th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  24.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /January  12,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
memo-  /  rial  of  William  M.  Glendy,  respectfully  report:  /  . .  .  /  [Wash- 
ington: Wendell  and  Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

202. .  3Oth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  146. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  5,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred 
the  petition  /  of  Francis  Martin,  report:  /  .  ,  .  /  [Washington:  Wendell 
and  Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

203. .  30th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  147. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States. /May  5,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
me-  /  morial  of  John  L.  Worden,  submit  to  the  Senate  the  following 
re-  /  port  from  the  Fourth  Auditor  in  regard  to  this  claim,  and  ask  to 
be  /  discharged  from  its  further  consideration.  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington: 
Wendell  and  Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  pp.  3.  LCP. 

204. .  30th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  148. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  5,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
peti-  /  tion  of  John  H.  Williams,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:  Wendell 
and  Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

237 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

205. ,  soth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  1 60.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  29,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  /  of  John  Baldwin,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and 
Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  pp.  5.  LCP. 

206. .  soth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  161.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  29,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  /  of  John  Ericsson,  report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and 
Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  pp.  3.  LCP. 

207. .  30th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  162.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  29,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  /  of  Ann  Kelly,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and 
Van  Benthuysen,  1848,] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

208. .  goth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  163. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States. /May  29,  1848. /Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  which  was  referred 
S>  B.  214,  /  in  addition  to  an  act  for  the  more  equitable  distribution 
of  the  /  navy  pension  fund,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and 
Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

209. .  30th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  164.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  May  29,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 

238 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAIC  A  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

petition  /  of  Abel  Grigg,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and 
Van  Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

210. .  soth  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  170. /In  Senate  of  the  United  States. /June  14,  1848. /Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  10.]  /  The  Committee  on  Naval 
Affairs,  to  whom  were  referred  the  bill  S.  /  10,  for  the  relief  of  John 
R.  Bryan,  administrator  of  Isaac  Gar-  /  retson,  deceased,  late  a  purser 
in  the  United  States  navy,  and  the  /  petition  of  the  administrator  of 
said  Garretson,  report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and  Van 
Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  p,  i.  LCP. 

2Ij4 .  g0th  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  239.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  August  10,  1848.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  348.]  /  The  Committee  on  Naval 
Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the  petition  /  of  Joseph  K.  Boyd,  one 
of  the  petty  officers  of  the  ketch  Intrepid,  /  under  the  command  of 
Captain  Stephen  Decatur,  at  the  time  of /the  destruction  of  the 
frigate  Philadelphia,  in  the  harbor  of  Tri-  /  poli,  on  the  night  of  the 
i6th  February,  1804,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  Wendell  and  Van 
Benthuysen,  1848.] 
8vo,  pp.  4.  LCP. 

1849 

212.  BUSGH,  ISIDOR.  Israels  Herold.  /  Versuch  /  einer  /  Zeitschrift  fur 
Israeliten  /  in  den  /  Vereinigten  Staaten,  /  herausgegeben  von  /  Isidor 
Busch,  /  April,  Mai,  Juni  1849.  /  5609.  /  New-York.  /  Gedruckt  bei 
J.  Miihlhauser,  231  Division-Str.  [1849] 

8vo,  pp.  96. 

213.  COHEN,  B.  w.  Cohen's /New  Orleans  and  Lafayette / Direc- 
tory, /  (Including  Algiers,  Gretna  and  McDonoghville),  /  for  /  1849,  / 
Containing   Twenty-one   Thousand   Names: /Also, /a   Street   and 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

Levee  Guide,  /  and  Other  Useful  Information,  /  as  will  be  seen  by  the 
Table  of  Contents.  /  Price,  Three  Dollars  /  New  Orleans:  /  Printed 
by  D.  Davies  &  Son,  /  60  Magazine  Street.  /  1849. 
8vo,  pp.  208,  (7).  AAS. 

214.  JUDAH,  SAMUEL.  The  Vincennes  University,  /vs.  /The  State  of 
Indiana.  /  Brief  /  of  /  Mr.  Samuel  Judah,  /  for  the  University,  /  in 
the  /  Supreme  Court  of  Indiana,  /  in  reply  to  the  brief  of  Mr.  Dunn, 
&c.,  /  November  Term,  1849.  /  Indianapolis:  /  Printed  by  John  D, 
Defrees.  /  1849. 

8vo,  pp.  13.  Indiana  State  Library. 

215.  LEVIN,  LEWIS  CHARLES.  Thirtieth  Congress  —  Second  Session./ 
Report  No.  102.  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  348.]  /  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives. /  Mrs.  Priscilla  Decatur  Twiggs.  /  February   14,   1849.  / 
Mr.  Levin,  from  the  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  made  the  fol-  / 
lowing  /  Report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:  1849.] 

8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

216.  MONTAGUE,  EDWARD  p.,  ed.  Narrative  /  of  the  late  /  Expedition  to 
the  Dead  Sea.  /  From  a  Diary  /  By  one  of  the  Party.  /  Edited  by  / 
Edward  P.  Montague,  /  attached  to  the  United  States  Expedition  Ship 
Supply.  /  With  incidents  and  adventures  from  the  time  of  the  sailing  / 
of  the  expedition  in  November,  1847,  ^11  the  /  return  of  the  same  in 
December,  1848.  /  Illustrated  with  a  Map  of  the  Holy  Land  /  hand- 
somely colored.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Carey  and  Hart.  /  1849. 

I2mo,  pp.  xxiv,  [i3]-336,  folding  map.  EW2. 

2i6a.  MORDEGAI,  ALFRED.  Second  Report  /  of  /  Experiments  on  Gun- 
powder, /  Made  at  /  Washington  Arsenal,  /  in  /  1845,  '47,  and  '48.  / 
By  /  Brevet  Major  Alfred  Mordecai,  /  of  the  Ordnance  Department.  / 
Washington:  /  Printed  by  J.  and  G.  S.  Gideon.  /  1849. 
8vo,  pp.  (4),  71,  and  two  plates.  EW2. 

217.  YULEE,  DAVID  [LEVY]  .  3oth  Congress,  /  sd  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
Rep.  Com.,  /No.  318.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February 
22,  1849.  /  Submitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made 
the  following  /  Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  H.  R.  No.  507.]  /  The 
Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the  bill  /  (H.  R. 

240 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAIC  A  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

No.  507)  for  the  relief  of  William  Tee,  of  Portsmouth,  /  Virginia, 
report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:  1849,] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

218. .  soth  Congress,  /  ad  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  319.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  22,  1849.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
memo-  /  rial  of  the  heirs  of  William  Flannigan  and  William  Parsons,  / 
respectfully  report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:  1849.] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

219. ,  3oth  Congress,  /  2d  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.,  / 

No.  320.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  23,  1849.7 
Submitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  follow- 
ing /  Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  re- 
ferred the  petition  /  of  James  Colburn,  respectfully  report:  /  . . .  / 
[Washington:  1849.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

1850 

220.  AGUILAR,  GRACE.  The  Vale  of  Cedars;  /  or,  /  The  Martyr.  /  By 
Grace  Aguilar,  /  Author  of  "Home  Influence,"  "Woman's  Friend- 
ship," etc.  /  [two-line  quotation  from  Byron]  /  New- York:  /  D.  Appleton 
&  Company,  200  Broadway.  /  Philadelphia:  /  Geo.  S.  Appleton,  164 
Chesnut-St.  /  1850. 

i2mo,  pp.  256,  (8).  EW2. 

221.  CLEMEN,    ROBERT.    Geschichte  /  der  /  Inquisition   in   Spanien  / 
von  /  Robert  Clemen.  /  Erster  Band.  /  Columbus,  Ohio.  /  Gedruckt 
bei  Scott  u.  Bascom.  /  1850. 

8vo,  pp.  xvi,  400.  Three  volumes  in  one,  continuous  pagination. 
MW. 

22 1  a.  [HAYS,  ISAAC.]   Code  of  Ethics /of  the  /  American  /  Medical 
Association, /  Adopted    May,     1847. /Concord: /Printed    by    Asa 
McFarland.  /  1850. 
I2mo,  pp.  15.  EW2. 

241 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

222.  LEVIN,  LEWIS  CHARLES.  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  Rep.  No. 
440.  /Ho.  of  Reps.  /Joseph  Radcliff.  /  [To  accompany  bill  H,  R. 
No.  3  70.] /August  i,   1850. /Mr.  Levin,  from  the  Committee  on 
Naval   Affairs,    made   the   following  /  Report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington: 
1850.] 

8vo,  pp.  4.  LCP. 

223.  LIPMAN,  HYMEN  L.  Catalogue  /  of  the  stock  of  fine  /  Stationery,  / 
&c.,  &c.,  /  to  be  sold  at  public  sale,  /  On  Tuesday  Morning,  the 
29th  January,  1850,  /  at  10  o'clock  precisely,  /  at  the  Store  of  Mr. 
Hymen  L.  Lipman,  /  No.  139  Chesnut  Street, /West  of  Delaware 
Fourth  St.,  Philadelphia  /  [seven  lines]  /  C.  J.  Wolpert  &  Co.,  Auct'rs.  / 
Philadelphia:  /  United  States  Book  and  Job  Printing  Office,  Ledger 
Building.  /  1850. 

8vo,  pp.  28.  AAS. 

224.  [MORDECAI,  ALFRED.]  The  /  Ordnance  Manual  /  for  /  The  Use  of 
the    Officers  /  of   the  /  United    States    Army.  /  Second    Edition.  / 
Washington:  /  Gideon  &  Co.,  Printers.  /  1850. 

8vo,  pp.  xxiv,  475,  and  19  plates.  Compiled  by  Captain  Alfred 
Mordecai.  LCP. 

225.  NEW  ORLEANS,  NEFUTSOTH  JEHUDAH.  Order  of  Service  /  at  the  / 
Consecration  /of    the  /  Synagogue    Nefutsoth   Jehudah  /  of  / New- 
Orleans,  /  on  /  Tuesday,  May  1 4th,  1850.  [5610] /New  Orleans:/ 
Joseph  Cohn,  Printer,  /  31  Poydras  Street.  /  1850. 

I2mo,  pp.  8.  MW. 

226.  NEW  YORK,   HEBREW  BENEVOLENT  SOCIETY.   New  York,   October 

1 5th,  1850.  /  Sir,  /  We  have  the  pleasure  to  inform  you  that  agreeably 
to  the  provisions  of  /  our  Constitution  and  By-Laws,  our  Society  will 
celebrate  its  Twenty-ninth  /  Anniversary,  at  the  Chinese  Rooms,  on 
Thursday  Evening,  November  the  7th,  /  .  .  .  /  M.  M.  Noah,  President, 
109  Bank-st.,  /H.  Aronson,  Vice  President,  79  William-st.,  / John 
Levy,  Treasurer,  134  William-st.,  /  . .  . 

4to,  broadside.  Announcing  plans  for  the  establishment  of  a  Jewish 
Hospital.  Dropsie  College. 

242 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

227.  [SALOMON,  HAYM  M.]   3ist  Congress-,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
Rep.  Com.  /  No.  177.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  August  9, 
1850.  /  Submitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Walker  made  the 
following  /  Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  310.]  /The  Com- 
mittee on  Revolutionary  Claims,  to  whom  was  referred  the  me-  / 
morial  of  H.  M.  Salomon,  for  indemnification  for  advances  of  money  / 
made  by  his  father  during  the  revolutionary  war  ..../.../  [Wash- 
ington: 1850.] 

8vo,  pp.  7.  LCP. 

228.  YULEE,  DAVID  [LEVY.]  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  / 
Rep.  Com.  /  No.  18.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /January  28, 
1850.  /  Submitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the 
following  /  Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was 
referred  the  memorial  of  /  George  Harvy,  report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington: 
1850.] 

8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

229. .  3 ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  54.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  15,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed,  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  1 13.]  /  The  Committee  on  Naval 
Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the  memorial  of /John  Crosby,  admin- 
istrator of  Andrew  D.  Crosby,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

230. .  3 ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  55.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  15,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
memorial  of  /  William  A,  Christian,  report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington: 
1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

231. .  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  57.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  18,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr,  Yulee  made  the  following  / 

243 


EDWIN  WOLF  2ND 

Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
memorial  of /John  Peirce,  jr.,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

232. .  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  58.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  18,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
memorial  of/  Charles  Coburn,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  p.  i.  LCP. 

233. .  31  st  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  59.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  18,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  of/  Wm.  D.  Aiken  and  Julia  his  wife,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Wash- 
ington: 1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  3.  LCP. 

234. .  3 ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  60.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  18,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  [To  accompany  bill  S.  No.  1 18.]  /  The  Committee  on  Naval 
Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the  memorial  of /James  McMcIntosh 
[sic],  report:  /  . .  .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  5.  LCP. 

235- •  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  66.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  21,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  were  referred 
the  documents  in  /  relation  to  the  claim  of  Purser  Francis  B.  Stockton 
for  the  allowance  /  of  expenses  incurred  in  going  to  London  by  order 
of  his  commanding  /  officer,  report:  /  .  .  .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  4.  LCP. 

236. .  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  67.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  21,  1850.  /  Sub- 

244 


UNRECORDED  AMERICAN  JUDAICA  PRINTED  BEFORE   185! 

mitted,  and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  were  referred 
certain  docu-  /  ments,  in  relation  to  the  claim  of  Purser  Francis  B. 
Stockton  for  the  /  allowance  of  expenses  of  a  ball  given  on  board  the 
United  States  frigate  /  St.  Lawrence,  report:  /  . ,  .  /  [Washington: 
1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  4.  LCP. 

237. .  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  68.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  21,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  of  /  William  H.  Burns,  report:  /  .  . .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

238. .  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

No.  69.  /  In  Senate  of  the  United  States.  /  February  21,  1850.  /  Sub- 
mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
memorial  of  /  Margaret  Carmick,  widow  of  Major  Carmick,  late  of  the 
United  States  /  marine  corps,  report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  pp.  2.  LCP. 

239. .  3ist  Congress,  /  ist  Session.  /  [Senate.]  /  Rep.  Com.  / 

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mitted, and  ordered  to  be  printed.  /  Mr.  Yulee  made  the  following  / 
Report:  /  The  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  of /John  S.  Van  Dyke,  report:  /  . . .  /  [Washington:  1850.] 
8vo,  p.  I.  LCP. 


245 


The  Motivation  of  the  German  Jewish 
Emigration  to  America  in 
the  Post-Mendelssohnian  Era 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 


X*EW  are  the  sources  in  either  German  Jewish  or 
American  Jewish  historiography  to  explain  why,  during  the 
two  decades  following  the  Napoleonic  wars,  young  Jews  em- 
igrated from  Germany  in  considerable  numbers,  despite  the 
fact  that  for  German  Jewry  these  two  decades  constituted 
a  period  of  hitherto  unprecedented  spiritual,  cultural,  and 
economic  development.  In  its  eagerness  to  throw  light  on  the 
problems  of  emancipation  and  assimilation  characteristic  of 
that  period,  or  to  describe  the  conflict  between  Orthodoxy  and 
Reform,  German  Jewish  historiography  has  paid  scant  attention 
to  the  question  of  emigration.  The  emigrant  undertone  was 
drowned  out  by  the  loud  clamor  of  the  speeches  delivered  at 
that  time  in  the  assemblies  (Standeversammlungeri)  of  the  various 
states  or  in  the  rabbinical  synods. 

The  emigrants  themselves,  from  whom  we  have  an  array  of 
autobiographies  and  memoirs,  left  only  meager  accounts  of 
their  youth  in  Germany.1  Rarely  did  they  go  beyond  a  brief 

Dr.  Selma  Stern-Taeubler,  Archivist  Emeritus  of  the  American  Jewish  Archives, 

is  the  most  distinguished  living  historian  of  German  Jewry  and  a  novelist  of  sensitive 

perception. 

1  Jacob  Rader  Marcus,  Memoirs  of  American  Jews:  1775-1865, 3  vols.  (Philadelphia, 

1955). 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

description  of  their  native  town,  their  family  life,  their  religious 
and  secular  education,  and  their  occupation.  Moreover,  they 
wrote  their  memoirs  when  they  were  old  men,  completely 
rooted  in  the  New  World.  Filled  with  the  desire  to  render  to 
themselves  and  their  children  an  account  of  their  eventful  and 
successful,  often  adventurous  lives,  they  were  too  harassed  by 
the  abundance  of  changing  scenes  to  find  time  for  critical 
introspection  and  self-examination,  or  even  to  ponder  what 
spiritual  and  moral  forces  had  at  one  time  shaped  them. 

Only  one  man,  the  son  of  Herman  Gone,  the  founder  of  the 
Gone  Mill  in  Greensboro,  N.  C.,  in  a  biography  describing  his 
father's  lifework,  has  spoken  of  the  "vitalizing  heritage"  which 
the  elder  Gone  brought  to  America  as  an  "intangible  possession" 
when,  at  the  age  of  seventeen,  he  left  his  native  Bavaria  (1846). a 
This  spiritual  heritage  consisted  of  a  single  letter  which  a  close 
relative  handed  to  the  young  emigrant.  The  letter  exhorted 
Herman  to  lead  a  pure  and  pious  life  in  the  foreign  land  —  an 
exhortation  reminiscent  of  the  moralistic  tracts  and  ethical 
wills  of  medieval  sages,  but  written  in  a  language  that  borrowed 
its  pathos  from  Schiller  and  its  solemnity  from  Klopstock. 

In  view  of  this  dearth  of  sources,  we  ourselves  must  attempt 
to  establish  the  links  which  connect  North  Carolina  with 
Bavaria,  Pennsylvania  with  Hesse,  California  with  Baden, 
Mississippi  with  the  Palatinate,  and  Maine  with  Posen,  in 
order  to  fathom  the  causes  of  emigration,  and,  simultaneously, 
to  discover  that  spiritual  heritage  which,  as  William  Cone 
maintained,  decisively  influenced  the  thoughts  and  actions  of 
his  father. 

At  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  and  beginning  of  the  nineteenth 
centuries,  German  Jewry  had  undergone  an  extreme  political 
and  social  revolution  and  a  considerable  change  in  its  view  of 

•  William  Cone,  "Biography  of  Herman  Cone"  (copy  in  the  American  Jewish 
Archives). 

248 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

the  world.  In  the  name  of  humanity,  tolerance,  and  freedom  of 
thought  and  conscience,  German  Jewry  had  been  promised  the 
restoration  of  its  innate,  inalienable,  and  sacred  human  rights. 
In  the  name  of  reason  and  of  the  Enlightenment,  the  Jews  had 
been  exposed  to  the  spiritual  ideas  of  their  time,  the  most 
brilliant  and  the  richest  which  Germany  ever  produced.  In 
the  name  of  the  pedagogic  gospel  of  Rousseau  and  Pestalozzi, 
the  portals  of  the  secular  schools  and  universities  had  been 
opened  to  them.  In  the  name  of  natural  law,  which  had  burst 
the  bounds  of  feudal  society  and  dissolved  the  privileges  of  the 
ruling  classes,  the  cause  of  their  civil  improvement  and  the 
termination  of  their  separate  existence  had  been  espoused. 3 

The  French  Revolution,  which  brought  the  ideas  of  the 
eighteenth-century  Enlightenment  to  their  utmost  culmination, 
proclaimed  as  its  fundamental  principle  the  equality  of  all 
men  before  the  law.  As  a  logical  consequence,  the  Paris  National 
Assembly  emancipated  the  Jews  of  France  in  September,  1791. 
When  the  revolutionary  armies  included  the  areas  on  the  left 
bank  of  the  Rhine  as  new  departements  in  the  new  republic,  and 
when  Napoleon  founded  the  Confederation  of  the  Rhine,  the 
Jews  of  these  states,  too,  became  citizens  of  the  French  Empire. 
In  the  newly  created  Kingdom  of  Westphalia,  their  equality 
was  proclaimed;  Frankfurt  granted  them  civil  rights  in  1810; 
the  Hanseatic  cities  in  181 1 . 4  The  Jews  of  the  Grand  Duchy  of 
Baden,  also  a  member  of  the  Confederation  of  the  Rhine,  were 
similarly  declared  free  hereditary  citizens  of  the  state  (erbfreie 

3  Wilhelm  Dilthcy,  "Das  18.  Jahrhundert  und  die  geschichtliche  Welt,"  Gesammelte 
Schriften,  III  (Leipzig,  1927);  Friedrich  Meinecke,  Die  Entstehung  des  Historismus 

(Munich  and  Berlin,  1936);  Karl  Victor,  Deutsches  Dickten  und  Denken  von  der 
Aufkldrung  bis  %um  Realismus  (Berlin,  1936). 

*Ludwig  Horwitz,  Die  Israeliten  unter  dem  Konigreich  WestfaUn  (Berlin,  1900); 
Felix  Lazarus,  Das  koniglich-westfalische  Konsistoriwn  der  Israeliten  (Pressburg,  1914); 
Adolf  Kober,  Cologne  (Philadelphia,  1940);  I.  Kracauer,  Geschickte  der  Juden  in 
Frankfurt  a.  Af.  (Frankfurt,  1927),  II. 

249 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

Staatsburger);  an  edict  of  January  13,  1809,  created  the  Supreme 
Council  of  the  Israelites  (Oberrat  der  Israeliteri),  whose  task  it 
became  to  reform  the  education  of  youth,  to  guide  its  vocational 
adjustment,  and  —  by  assimilating  it  with  the  surrounding 
world  culturally  and  spiritually  —  to  prepare  it  for  complete 
civil  equality. s 

For  the  economically  strongest  and  intellectually  most  en- 
lightened Jews  of  all,  those  of  Prussia,  who  had  for  years  pas- 
sionately fought  for  their  civil  improvement,  the  edict  of  1812 
removed  the  concept  of  protected  Jewry  (Schutqudenturri). 
Foreigners  and  tolerated  persons  (GeduLdete)  became  natives 
(Eirddnder)  and  citizens  (Staatsburger).  The  burden  of  special 
taxes  and  Jews'  taxes  (Judenabgaberi)  was  lifted,  and  the  principle 
was  proclaimed  that  Jews  should  enjoy  the  same  rights  and 
liberties  as  Christians, 6 

The  overthrow  of  Napoleon,  the  restoration  of  the  old 
"legitimate"  regimes,  the  victory  of  the  Holy  Alliance,  and 
the  tendencies  of  the  Restoration  resulted  almost  everywhere 
in  the  cancellation  of  the  civil  rights  which  the  Jews  had  been 
granted.  In  Frankfurt,  in  Mainz,  in  the  states  of  the  Rhenish 
Confederation,  the  last  hope  for  the  promised  liberty  and 
equality  disappeared  with  the  re-establishment  of  the  old  order. 
The  ambiguous  formula  of  the  Congress  of  Vienna  concerning 
the  future  constitutional  basis  of  the  Jews  in  Germany  was  an 
equally  clear  indication  of  the  changed  attitude  of  those  in 
power.  This  attitude  was  also  evident  in  the  twenty  different 
Judenverfassungen  of  the  Prussian  provinces  —  Verfassungen,  con- 
stitutions, which  contained  a  multiplicity  of  restrictive  clauses. 

sBerthold  Rosenthal,  Heimatgeschichte  der  badischen  Juden  (Buhl,  1927);  A.  Lewin, 
Geschichte  der  badischen  Juden  seit  der  Regierung  Karl  Friedrichs  (Karlsruhe,  1909); 
Selma  Stern-Taeubler,  "Die  Emanzipation  der  Juden  in  Baden,"  Gedenkbuch  zujn 
125.  Besteken  des  Oberrats  der  Israeliten  Badens  (Frankfurt,  1934), 

6  Ismar  Freund,  Die  Emancipation  der  Juden  in  Preussen  (Berlin,  1912). 
250 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

This  was  particularly  true  of  the  constitution  of  the  province 
of  Posen,  whose  large  Jewish  population  was  divided  into  two 
classes,  "naturalized  inhabitants  and  those  who  are  not  yet  fit 
to  receive  the  rights  of  the  projected  naturalized  class." 

This  change  in  the  governmental  policies  towards  the  Jews 
was  not  only  a  reaction  against  Jewish  political  and  economic 
emancipation,  a  reaction  associated  with  the  governmental 
revolt  against  the  Napoleonic  innovations.  A  reaction  no  less 
spiritual  than  political,  it  documented  the  profound  change  of 
thought  marking  this  period's  transition  from  the  cosmopolitan- 
humanist  attitude  towards  life  which  the  eighteenth  century 
had  evinced  to  the  romantic-national  world  philosophy  of  the 
nineteenth  century.  In  contrast  to  the  clear-minded  Deism  of 
the  Enlightenment  and  the  serene  Hellenistic  life-ideal  of  the 
classics,  a  religious  hypertension  arose.  This  hypertension,  born 
of  the  romantic  spirit  and  nourished  by  the  political  upheavals 
attendant  on  the  wars  of  liberation,  resulted  in  a  mutual 
impregnation  and  curious  intermixture  of  primitive  Christian 
and  Germanic  notions,  of  Puritan  and  Teutonic  ideas,  of 
nationalistic  and  pietistic-mystical  beliefs.  It  was  then  that  the 
concept  of  the  "  Christian-Germanic"  or  "German-Christian" 
state  arose. 7 

The  men  of  the  French  Revolution  had  envisaged  the  state 
as  a  purely  rational  instrument.  But  for  the  romanticists  the 
state  was  created  not  by  men  but  by  God  himself.  It  was  a 
Christian  monarchy  in  which  the  legal,  constitutional,  and 
economic  structure  was  grounded  on  the  principles  of  Chris- 


?H.  von  Sybel,  "Die  christlich-gcnnanischc  Staatslehre,"  Kleine  Sckriften,  I 
(Stuttgart,  1880-1891);  E.  Muesebeck,  "Die  ursprunglichen  Grundlagen  des 
Liberalisraus  und  Konservatismus  in  Deutschland,"  Korrespondenzblatt  des  Gesamt- 
vereins  der  deutschen  Altertumsvercine,  Jahrgang  63  (1915);  R-  Stammlcr,  Lekrbuck 
der  Rechtsphilosophie  (3rd  ed.;  Berlin,  1928);  J.  Baxa,  Einfiihrung  in  die  romantische 
Staatswissenschqft  (Jena,  1923). 

251 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

tianity,  and  in  which  religion,  people,  and  government  were  to 
form  a  single  unity. 

The  generation  of  the  Enlightenment  had  been  able  to  believe 
in  a  synthesis  of  Germanism  and  Judaism  because  its  broad 
humanitarian  ideal  of  culture  coincided  with  the  demand  for 
social  and  civil  equality  for  the  Jews.  From  their  universalistic 
standpoint,  the  question  of  emancipation  had  been  not  so  much 
a  question  of  the  Jews  as  a  question  of  humanity.  On  the  other 
hand,  for  the  generation  of  romanticism,  a  generation  which 
sought  the  emergence  of  the  national  spirit  in  legend  and  in 
history  and  explored  the  manifestation  of  the  singular  and 
peculiar,  the  essence  of  Judaism  constituted  an  element  scarcely 
to  be  blended  with  the  essence  of  Germanism.  If  one  conceived 
of  the  state  as  a  community  of  those  who  lived,  had  lived,  and 
were  still  to  live,  with  every  hope  for  moral  and  religious; 
development  related  to  Christianity,  there  could  be  no  place 
for  the  Jews  in  this  community. 

A  people  could  become  an  entity  only  through  uniformity  of 
expression,  thought,  language,  and  faith,  and  through  loyalty 
to  the  governmental  system,  declared  the  famous  Professor 
Friedrich  Ruehs  of  the  University  of  Berlin, 8  at  that  time.  A 
stranger  could  not  be  denied  admission  into  this  ethnic  unity, 
but  he  should  be  granted  it  only  if  he  surrendered  himself  to  it 
completely  and  became  fused  with  it.  But  that  condition  did 
not  apply  to  German  Jewry.  By  virtue  of  its  descent,  disposition, 
faith,  and  language,  it  was  more  closely  unified  to  the  Jews 
the  world  over  than  to  the  Germans,  As  long  as  the  Jews  per- 
severed in  their  national  and  political  particularism  and  refused 
to  yield  the  separate  folk  existence  (Volkstumlichkeif)  based  on 
their  religion  and  their  aristocratic  constitutions,  they  had  to 
remain  tolerated  Schutz-  und  Schirmgenossen,  separated  by  strict 

8  fiber  die  Ansprtiche  der  Juden  an  das  deutsche  Burgerrecht  (2nd  printing;  Berlin,  1816). 
252 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

commercial  regulations  from  the  other  subjects.  Only  if  they 
dejudaized  themselves,  that  is  to  say,  converted  to  Christianity, 
could  they  be  accepted  as  citizens  of  equal  standing  in  the 
state. 

These  "strict  commercial  regulations5'  took  the  form  of 
earnest  efforts  by  the  governments  of  the  individual  states  to 
direct  the  large  number  of  poorer  Jews  into  new  vocational  and 
economic  areas;  to  deflect  them  from  commerce,  particularly 
from  dealing  in  second-hand  goods  and  from  pawnbroking;  and 
to  channel  them  into  agriculture  and  handicrafts.  Even  if  the 
intentions  expressed  in  this  program  were  justifiable  and 
educative,  the  national-economic  doctrine  of  romanticism  played 
an  important  part.  Commerce,  as  it  was  proclaimed  here,  was 
essentially  international,  geared  to  economic  gain,  that  is  to 
say,  to  profit  and  consumption.  Industry,  in  turn,  dependent 
as  it  was  on  the  ability  of  the  individual  entrepreneur,  likewise 
contradicted  the  romantic  idea  of  the  organic  unity. 

This  vocational  readjustment  was  pressed  so  thoroughly  by 
individual  governments  that,  for  instance,  the  Baden  ministry 
of  the  interior  demanded 9  that  Jewish  journeymen  be  absolved, 
for  the  period  of  their  travelling  apprenticeship,  from  observing 
their  religious  laws,  especially  from  observance  of  the  Sabbath, 
until  such  time  as  a  larger  number  of  Jewish  artisans  would  be 
accepted  as  masterworkmen  in  the  land. 

How  did  German  Jewry  react  to  the  idea  of  the  Christian 
state?  How  did  it  reply  to  the  changed  position  of  the  ruling 
powers  and  of  society  and  to  the  release  of  popular  outburst 
which  found  its  most  salient  expression-  in  the  anti-Jewish  Hep! 
Hep!  movement  of  the  year  1819? 

Several  possible  solutions  presented  themselves,  and  all  of 

9  Schreiben  des  badischcn  Innernninisteriums  an  den  Oberrat  der  Israeliten.  12. 
September,  1812.  Generallandesarchiv  Karlsruhe,  Ministerium  des  Inneren, 
Judensachen,  Zug  1900,  Nr.  40,  III. 

253 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

them  were  attempted  by  the  German  Jews  in  those  years.  One 
possibility  was  to  recognize  the  dominant  ideas,  to  affirm  that 
Christianity  was  the  basis  of  German  culture,  and  in  the  course 
of  assimilating  to  the  German  environment,  to  adopt  Chris- 
tianity. This  was  the  solution  attempted  by  the  children  of 
Moses  Mendelssohn,  by  Heinrich  Heine,  by  Ludwig  Borne, 
Eduard  Gans,  Friedrich  Julius  Stahl,  and  Karl  Marx,  and 
by  innumerable  others. 

A  second  possibility  lay  in  compromise.  This  compromise 
took  the  form  of  surrendering  one's  own  nationality  in  accord- 
ance with  the  state's  requirement,  of  negating  Jewish  people- 
hood;  it  took  the  form  of  simplifying  and  adjusting  all  ritual 
and  ceremonial  to  the  liturgical  patterns  of  the  environment, 
of  reducing  religion  —  which  had  formerly  dominated  and 
permeated  the  lives  of  one's  forebears  —  to  a  personal  creed, 
an  ethical  Weltanschauung.  Such  was  the  solution  attempted  at 
that  time  by  the  Jewish  Reformers. 

A  third  alternative  was  that  of  subjecting  to  scientific  in- 
vestigation the  Jew's  relationship  to  religion  and  society,  state 
and  humanity,  the  past  and  the  future,  and  simultaneously  of 
enlightening  a  hostile  environment  with  respect  to  the  religious 
basis  of  Judaism  —  this  Judaism  which  had  been,  at  one  time, 
as  revelatory  of  the  Weltgeist  as  ever  Hellenism  and  Christianity 
were.  Thus  the  world  would  be  given  the  opportunity  of  forming 
a  better  judgment  as  to  the  worthiness  or  unworthiness  of  the 
Jews  and  their  eligibility  for  emancipation  and  equal  rights. 
This  was  the  approach  adopted  at  that  time  by  the  Berlin 
cultural  organization  known  as  the  Verein  fur  Kultur  und  Wis- 
senschajt  des  Judentums,  founded  in  1819. 

However  divided  the  German  Jews  were  during  these  years, 
one  watchword  still  remained  to  unite  all  trends  and  opin- 
ions, the  Orthodox  and  the  Reformers,  the  conservatives  and 
the  liberals,  the  irresolute  and  the  faithful,  the  indifferent 

254 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

and  the  baptized:  the  watchword  of  political  and  civil  eman- 
cipation. 

Strengthened  in  its  self-respect  and  self-awareness  by  better 
education  and  greater  economic  security,  the  whole  of  German 
Jewry  regarded  its  political  degradation  as  an  intolerable  insult. 
Just  as  the  public  opinion  of  those  years  saw  the  ultimate  of 
human  happiness  in  the  fulfillment  of  constitutional  demands, 
so,  too,  the  Jews  of  that  generation  looked  to  political  emancipa- 
tion for  redemption  from  their  sad  fate.  Proceeding  on  the 
assumption  that  the  innate  rights  of  human  beings  were  not  to 
be  diminished  by  any  one,  they  defended  their  cause  in  political, 
philosophical,  and  moral  discussions  before  the  entire  German 
nation.  In  as  many  petitions  they  accused  the  Stande- 
versammlungen  of  the  individual  states  —  Baden,  Bavaria,  Han- 
over, the  Electorate  of  Hesse,  Prussia,  and  Saxony  —  of  violating 
the  spirit  of  the  constitutions  themselves  and  of  the  principle 
of  the  equality  of  all  persons  before  the  law  by  barring  Jews 
from  state  offices  and  by  denying  them  the  right  to  be  chosen  as 
representatives  to  the  diets. 

The  most  vehement  struggle  for  equal  rights  was  fought  at 
that  time  by  the  Bavarian  Jews,  whose  legal  position  was  the 
most  oppressive  and  insecure. I0  Not  even  the  Napoleonic  period 
had  essentially  improved  the  position  of  the  Jews  in  Bavaria. 
They  had  been  granted  only  the  right  to  attend  public  schools 
and  the  remission  of  the  body-tax  (Leibzolt),  while  the  1813 
edict  regulating  their  legal  relationship  to  the  Bavarian  state 
had  prescribed,  in  its  infamous  twelfth  paragraph,  that  "the 
number  of  Jewish  families  in  localities  where  there  are  some  at 
present  should  not,  as  a  rule,  be  increased,  but  rather,  if  it  be  too 
large,  diminished'9  (die  %ahl  der  Judenfamilien  an  den  Orten,  wo  sie 
dermalen  bestehen,  in  der  Regel  nicht  vermehrt,  vielmehr,  wenn  sie  zu  gross 

1  °  A.  Eckstein,  Der  Kampfder  Juden  urn  ikrf  Eman&pation  in  Bayem  (Furth  i.  B.,  1905), 

255 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

set,  vermindert  werden  musse).  If  Jews  wished  to  settle  in  townships 
hitherto  judenfrei,  they  were  obliged  to  secure  the  permission 
of  the  Landesherr,  the  manoral  lord.  Such  permission  was,  in 
general,  to  be  granted  only  to  manufacturers,  artisans,  and 
agricultural  workers. 

What  this  regulation  meant  in  practice  was  that  only  an 
eldest  son  would  be  authorized  to  settle  by  virtue  of  his  father's 
letter  of  protection  (Schutzbrief).  Otherwise,  in  order  to  gain 
the  right  of  settlement,  one  had  to  await  the  death  of  a  childless 
owner  of  a  registration  certificate  (Matrikelbesitzer)  and,  in 
addition,  had  frequently  to  pay  the  huge  sum  of  1,000  gulden 
for  that  right.  In  a  petition  of  May,  1831,  to  the  diet  (Stande- 
kammer),  the  Jews  of  Bavaria  demanded  that  this  degrading 
regulation  be  repealed  by  the  government. 

It  is  an  inalienable,  inviolable  human  right  to  have  a  fatherland, 
to  use  one's  mental  and  physical  powers  freely,  to  own  property,  to 
settle  and  marry,  in  wedlock  to  beget  and  educate  children,  and  to 
leave  to  them  a  fatherland,  their  own  hearth,  and  secure  possession 
and  enjoyment  of  their  human  rights. 

But  where  they  are  commanded  to  diminish  the  number  of  their 
families,  where  their  increase  is  prohibited,  and  where  their  settlement 
is  confined  to  a  certain  number  and  to  a  few  places,  but  otherwise 
forbidden,  there  our  children  have  no  fatherland,  no  property,  no 
livelihood;  there  they  are  condemned  to  remain  unmarried,  to  re- 
nounce their  paternal  and  human  rights,  and  to  perish  physically 
and  morally. 

Still  more  movingly  did  the  communities  of  Ansbach  and 
Fiirth  appeal  to  the  king  in  a  memorial  in  1837.  They  pointed 
out  that  their  children  had  indeed  gained  admission  to  all 
institutions  of  higher  learning,  but  found  no  opportunity  to 
put  their  theoretical  training  into  practice.  Should  their  well- 
founded  grievances  not  be  rectified,  they  would  be  forced 

to  surrender  one  of  the  most  cherished  possessions  of  every  feeling 
man  —  their  hereditary  homeland.  . . .  Already  we  are  aware  of  a 

256 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

phenomenon  which  has  not  hitherto  been  known.  Already  we  see 
the  desire  to  emigrate  taking  root  also  among  the  Israelites  of  Bavaria; 
for  the  past  few  years,  at  the  coming  of  each  spring,  a  not  unsubstantial 
number  of  Israelite  coreligionists  have  been  leaving  Bavaria,  hitherto 
their  fatherland,  to  move  to  distant  parts  of  the  world. 

These  are  not  adventurers;  these  are  by  no  means  the  scum  of  civil 
society.  These  are  strong  young  men,  professionals  and  solid  business- 
men, who  for  years  applied  for  settlement,  but  thereby  wasted  money 
and  time,  simply  because  there  was  no  vacancy  in  the  registration 
list,  or  because  their  religion  prevented  them.  .  . .  Every  year  the 
number  of  Israelite  emigrants  increases,  and  these  are  no  longer 
confined  to  unmarried  individuals,  but  comprise  established  families, 

Bavarian  Jewry  itself  specified  in  these  petitions  the  main 
reasons  which  compelled  Jewish  youth  to  emigrate:  the  prohibi- 
tion against  second,  third,  or  even  fourth  children  settling  in 
the  land,  and  the  difficulties  encountered  in  the  practice  of  the 
academic  professions.  It  is,  therefore,  no  coincidence  that  most 
of  the  German  memoir-writers  mention  Bavaria  as  their  native 
land.  Sigmund  and  Leopold  Wassermann,  who  landed  in  Amer- 
ica at  the  beginning  of  the  eighteen  forties,  * x  also  hailed  from 
Bavaria,  as  did  Herman  Cone  and  Leo  Merzbacher. x  2 

It  would  be  wrong,  nevertheless,  to  simplify  the  problems 
and  to  reduce  the  motives  to  a  common  denominator.  Two 
memorialists,  William  Frank  and  Louis  Stix,13  report,  for 
instance,  that  they  had  learned  a  trade:  Frank  had  learned 
weaving,  and  Stix  had  learned  glazing.  Frank  worked  for 
three  years  as  an  apprentice  in  Schweinfurt;  then,  under 
Christian  masterworkmen,  he  followed  his  trade  in  almost  all 
the  larger  cities  of  Bavaria,  as  well  as  in  Frankfurt,  Mainz, 
Worms,  Darmstadt,  Mannheim,  Heidelberg,  Landau,  Speyer, 

*  *  Guido  Kisch,  "Two  American  Jewish  Pioneers  in  New  Haven,"  Historia  Judaica, 
IV  (1942). 

™  Eric  E.  Hirshler,  Jews  from  Germany  in  the  United  States  (New  York,  1955). 

*  *  Jacob  Rader  Marcus,  Memoirs,  L 

257 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

and  many  smaller  places.  He  appears  to  have  found  work  easily 
and  was  satisfied  with  his  earnings.  Frank  must,  therefore, 
have  had  reasons  other  than  poverty,  the  prohibition  of  settle- 
ment, and  state  and  municipal  restrictions,  for  deciding,  never- 
theless, to  emigrate  to  "blessed  America." 

As  we  saw,  the  learning  of  a  trade  was  forced  upon  the  Jews 
by  the  governments.  They  yielded  to  this  decree  hesitantly 
and  unwillingly.  Frank  reports  that  the  police  arrested  him  at 
the  age  of  fourteen  and  that,  living  on  bread  and  water,  he  had 
to  spend  three  days  in  prison  because  he  had  not  begun  to 
learn  a  trade.  His  first  period  of  apprenticeship  to  a  cobbler 
was  torture,  and  he  ran  away  after  two  weeks  because  he  could 
not  stand  the  smell  of  the  "stinking  shoes"  he  had  to  repair. 

The  Baden  minister  of  the  interior,  von  Berckheim,  wrote  to 
the  Frankfurt  ambassador,  von  Blittersdorf,  in  1828, 14  that  the 
Jews  found  their  vocational  readjustment  difficult  and  that 
their  "absorption  into  the  civic  order"  had  not  met  with  the 
desired  success.  They  did  not  take  agriculture  and  the  trades 
very  seriously  because  they  chose  only  those  vocations  which 
required  little  effort  —  vocations  such  as  tailoring,  shoemaking, 
and  bookbinding  —  or  which  had  some  connection  with  com- 
merce —  butchering,  soap  manufacturing,  and  hatmaking.  Most 
of  them  soon  resigned  their  trades  in  favor  of  commerce.  There 
was  this  added  factor:  that  the  Jews  were  inevitably  drawn  to 
commerce  by  virtue  of  that  superiority  which  they  had  acquired 
in  all  branches  of  trade  through  their  early  development  of  an 
almost  instinctive  taste  for  speculation  and  through  the  connec- 
tions they  had  with  their  people  in  all  parts  of  the  world.  It  was 
this  inclination  to  commerce  which  impelled  them  in  that 
direction. 

We  may  assume,  therefore,  that  the  enterprising  Frank,  who 

14  Generallandesarchiv  Karlsruhe,  Judenrechte,  Pars  II,  I. 
258 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

became  an  important  glass  manufacturer  in  America,  and  the 
generous  and  honorable  Stix,  who  died  a  millionaire,  both 
sought  a  way  to  freedom  in  order  to  burst  the  bonds  of  narrow- 
minded,  compulsory  guild  order. 

In  the  possession  of  the  American  Jewish  Archives  is  the 
"Mailert  Family  Correspondence, "  a  comprehensive  collection 
permitting  a  more  profound  insight  into  the  soul  of  an  emigrant 
than  do  the  short  sketches  of  the  memoir-writers.  The  letters 
were  written  by  Charles  Lucius  Mailert  during  the  years  1833- 
1851  to  his  brother  August,  who  emigrated  to  the  United  States 
at  the  beginning  of  the  1830*3.  Charles  Lucius  Mailert  was  a 
Jewish  teacher  and  director  of  a  private  school  in  Kassel.  He 
himself  was  about  to  emigrate  to  America.  Only  consideration 
of  his  aged  mother,  whom  he  did  not  wish  to  leave  behind  alone, 
and  later  a  serious  illness  which  brought  about  his  early  death, 
prevented  the  execution  of  his  plan. 

These  are  the  letters  of  a  well-educated,  very  sensitive,  and 
receptive  young  man  who  was  familiar  with  the  condition  of 
the  Jews  as  well  as  with  the  general  political  situation  in  Ger- 
many. This  enlightened,  forthright  educator  was  in  a  position 
to  pen  his  moods,  intentions,  and  feelings  in  well-chosen  lan- 
guage. Although  he  was  a  Jewish  teacher  and  edited  a  "Hebrew 
Bible,"  the  Jewish  problem  did  not  play  a  decisive  role  in  his 
case.  This  was  not  because  the  condition  of  the  Jews  was  consid- 
erably better  in  the  Electorate  of  Hesse  (where,  in  the  main, 
the  reforms  of  the  Westphalian  period  were  kept  intact)  than 
in  Bavaria  and  many  other  states.  It  was  because  Charles 
Lucius  Mailerfs  interest  was  directed  not  so  much  to  the 
liberation  of  his  fellow  Jews  as  to  the  political  and  civil  eman- 
cipation of  German  society,  to  whose  emancipation  he  believed 
the  emancipation  of  the  Jews  was  intimately  related. 

What  stirred  him  deeply  was  his  enormous  urge  for  freedom, 
an  irresistible  aversion  to  conditions  in 

259 


SELMA  STERN-TAEUBLER 

antiquated,  tyrannized  Europe,  where  at  every  step  an  eavesdropper 
sneaks  up  or  a  gaudy  mercenary  reminds  one  of  brutalities,  where 
new  laws  are  made  daily  in  order  to  impose  new  fines,  where  the 
word  of  a  thinking  man  brings  about  penal  servitude;  in  short,  where 
they  let  people  live  only  for  the  fun  of  grinding  them.  Europe  sprouted 
a  shoot  of  liberty  some  years  ago,  but  it  withered  and  deprived  the 
whole  tree  of  whatever  strength  there  still  remained. IS 

When  his  brother  warned  him  not  to  make  a  hasty  decision 
and  told  him  about  the  privations  and  the  hard  life  of  the 
immigrant,  Charles  replied: 

Whatever  you  and  many  others  may  say  about  America,  you  do  not 
know  European  slavery,  German  oppression,  and  Hessian  taxes.  There 
is  only  one  land  of  liberty  which  is  ruled  according  to  natural,  reason- 
able laws,  and  that  is  the  Union.  Freedom  is  the  greatest  possession; 
in  the  Old  World  freedom  lies  in  chains,  and  her  defenders  have  to 
mount  the  scaffold.  You  say  in  America  it  is  "make  money,"  but  here 
it  is  "give  money  as  taxes."  Which  is  better?16 

"I  am  happy  and  confident,  when  I  think  about  America,'* 
he  declares  in  another  letter. x  7 

I  still  live  and  strive  in  and  for  America  —  without  imagining  it  to 
be  a  fool's  paradise.  Freedom!  Freedom  of  life  and  of  the  soul!  The 
advantages  which  you  ascribe  to  Europe  are  very  dubious.  Everything 
has  come  about  through  the  blood  and  sweat  of  the  poor  subjects.18 

In  a  later  letter  he  confesses  to  his  brother: 

America  still  keeps  me  going  somewhat.  If  this  thought,  too,  proves 
deceptive;  if  one  may  not  or  cannot  be  a  human  being  there,  either, 
then  my  life  would  be  unbearable  —  perhaps  then  I  might  be  able  to 
throw  it  away. x  9 


*s  Letter  dated  March  14,  1835. 
16  Letter  dated  March  19,  1835. 
1 '  Letter  dated  October  22,  1835. 
18  Letter  dated  February  1 8,  1836. 
J»  Letter  dated  April  26,  1837. 
260 


THE  MOTIVATION  OF  THE  GERMAN  JEWISH  EMIGRATION 

Similar,  purely  idealistic  reasons  motivated  Sigmund  and 
Leopold  Wassermann,  the  sons  of  well-to-do  and  educated 
parents,  when  they  decided  to  take  up  a  life  of  privation  rather 
than  to  live  in  "hatred  and  shame."  Both  of  them  were  high- 
minded,  sensitive,  and  profound  souls,  whose  dispositions  had 
been  molded  by  classical  and  romantic  literature.  Their  dis- 
appointed and  rejected  love  of  their  —  despite  everything  — 
"oh,,  so  dear  fatherland"  prompted  them  to  write  sad  elegies  in 
which  they  conjured  up  the  millennial  grief  and  sang  of  the 
"sweet  liberty"  which  they  hoped  to  find  on  "America's  happy 
shores." 

How  these  hopes  were  fulfilled,  how  the  emigrants  from 
Germany  found  their  way  in  the  New  World,  how  they  guarded 
the  heritage  which  they  brought  with  them,  and  what  strength 
they  derived  from  it  —  these  things  have  been  told  to  us  by 
the  historian  to  whom  this  Festschrift  is  dedicated. 


261 


The  Economic  Life  of  the  American  Jew 
in  the  Middle  Nineteenth  Century 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 


WHEN  the  Jew  began  to  leave  Germanic  lands  in 
the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century  he  was,  in  the  main, 
well-fitted  for  the  type  of  economic  activity  generally  prevailing 
in  the  United  States.  The  discovery  of  gold  in  California  in 
1848,  the  Westward  Movement,  the  Homestead  Act  of  1862, 
followed  by  the  joining  of  the  West  Coast  with  the  East  by 
railroad,  the  expansion  of  industry,  the  growth  of  the  cities, 
the  rich  rewards  for  the  venturesome  —  all  provided  an  excellent 
opportunity  for  daring,  courage,  personal  ingenuity,  and  in- 
dividual exploitation. 

German  economic  life  had  not  fully  evolved  to  the  point  of 
mass  industrialism;  it  was  still  basically  the  age  of  the  individual 
and  the  middle  man,  enabling  many  German  Jews  to  be  active 
in  various  areas.  *  The  American  scene  beckoned  to  those  who 
were  eager  to  work,  to  take  a  chance,  to  venture  into  new  fields 
and  to  explore  the  potentialities  of  the  economic  frontier.  One 
historian  has  called  this  the  age  of  revolution  in  manufacturing, 

Rabbi  Alia"  Tarshish  is  the  spiritual  leader  of  Temple  Beth  Elohim,  Charleston,. 
S.  C. 

1  For  instance,  the  Jews  of  Silesia  -were  often  employed  by  large  landowners  as 
financial  and  commercial  agents  and  as  lessees  of  their  breweries  and  farms: 
Selma  Stern-Taeubler,  "Problems  of  American  and  German  Jewish  Historiog- 
raphy," in  Eric  E.  Hirshler,  ed.,  Jews  from  Germany  in  the  United  States  (New  York: 
Farrar,  Straus  and  Gudahy,  1955),  p.  12. 

263 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

transportation,  mining,  and  communication.3  And,  as  in  any 
revolution,  new  figures  found  their  opportunity. 

The  majority  of  the  Jews  who  came  to  this  country  at  this 
time  were  not  rich,  and  few  had  sufficient  capital  to  start  a 
business. 3  Thus  many  of  them  became  peddlers.  In  1 850  there 
were  some  10,000  peddlers  in  the  United  States,  and  in  1860 
more  than  16,000,  most  of  whom  were  Jewish. 4  According  to  a 
humorous  Jew  of  Syracuse,  New  York,  who  described  the  various 
categories,  the  bottom  of  the  economic  ladder  was  occupied  by 
the  basket  peddler. 

One  day,  when  Rabbi  Isaac  Mayer  Wise  was  traveling  on 
the  boat  from  New  York  to  Albany,  he  saw  such  a  basket 
peddler  walking  around  the  boat,  wringing  his  hands  in  agony. 
Wise  asked  if  he  had  lost  anything.  The  peddler  responded  in 
German:  "Have  I  lost  anything?  . .  .  Bewonos  [God  help  me!], 
I  have  lost  everything!  I  have. lost  my  English  language."  The 
rabbi  could  not  understand.  "You  do  not  understand?  Neither 
do  I,  and  therein  lies  my  misfortune.  I  arrived  at  New  York, 
and  after  I  had  paid  my  debts  I  had  twenty  dollars  and  three 
shillings  left.  So  they  said  to  me,  'Cohen,  you  must  buy  a  basket 
for  six  shillings,  and  twenty  dollars'  worth  of  kuddel  muddel, 
what  we  call  in  German  meshowes  (notions),  and  then  you  must 
go  peddling  in  the  country.' 

"I  cry  out,  cThe  country  speaks  English,  and  I  do  not.  How 

9  Arthur  M.  Schlesingcr,  Political  and  Social  History  of  the  United  States,  1829-192$ 
(New  York:  Macmillan,  1928),  p.  280. 

*  Allgemeine  %dtung  des  Judentwns,  XIII  (1849),  649;  Mark  Stone,  Historical  Sketch 
and  By-Laws  of  Ohabei  Shalom,  Boston  (Boston:  Daniels  Printing  Co.,  1907);  Seventy- 
Fifth  Anniversary  Booklet  of  Congregation  B*nai  B'rith,  Wilkes-Barre,  Pa.,  2840-1924; 
Herman  Eliassoff,  "German  American  Jews,"  reprint  from  Publications  of  the 
German  American  Historical  Society  of  Illinois  (1915),  pp.  33,  43;  Simon  Glazer,  Jews 
of  Iowa  (Des  Moines,  Iowa,  1904),  p.  196. 

4  Rudolph  Glanz,  "Notes  on  Early  Jewish  Peddling  in  America,"  Jewish  Social 
Studies,  VII  (1945),  120. 

264 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

in  the  world  can  I  get  along?'  'That  makes  no  difference/ 
they  told  me;  cwe  will  write  everything  down  for  you.'  Well, 
they  gave  me  the  basket  filled  with  kuddel  muddel,  and  wrote 
down  for  me  the  English  language  on  a  piece  of  paper,  and 
sent  me  to  Hudson.  Now  I  have  lost  the  English  language,  and 
am  perfectly  helpless."  Wise  comforted  the  distracted  peddler, 
had  him  write  in  German  the  sentences  which  he  needed,  and 
translated  them  into  English.  Even  then  the  immigrant  had  his 
difficulties  and  persisted  in  saying,  "You  fant  to  puy  somdink? 
Can  I  shtay  mit  you  all  nacht?" s 

The  next  higher  rank  among  the  peddlers  was  the  trunk 
carrier  who  knew  a  little  English.  On  the  next  rung  above  was 
the  pack  carrier  who  shouldered  150  pounds  of  merchandise 
and  looked  forward  to  the  time  when  he  would  become  a 
businessman.  These  were  the  plebeians.  But  there  was  also  an 
aristocracy  among  the  peddlers:  either  a  wagon  baron  who 
peddled  with  a  horse  and  wagon;  or  a  jewelry  count  who  carried 
stocks  of  watches  and  jewelry  in  a  small  trunk  and  was  consid- 
ered a  rich  man  by  his  friends.  On  the  top  rung  was  the  store 
prince  who  had  succeeded  in  establishing  a  shop,  usually  a 
clothing  store. 6 

This  humorous  description  was  acted  out  in  many  a  life  — 
and  sometimes  not  so  humorously.  The  life  stories  of  individual 
immigrants  are  very  often  replete  with  vicissitudes. 7  Some  were 
tragic  indeed,  as  is  disclosed  by  a  short  account  in  the  New 
York  Sun  of  May  7,  1849:  "The  body  of  a  German  named 
Marcus  Cohen  was  found  in  a  remote  part  of  Greenwood 
Cemetery  on  Friday  last.  It  seems  that  on  Wednesday  last,  in  a 

*  Isaac  Mayer  Wise,  Reminiscences  (Cincinnati;  Leo  Wise  and  Co.,  1901),  p.  31. 
« Ibid.,  p.  37. 

1 1bid.,  p.  47;  Jacob  R.  Marcus,  Memoirs  of  American  Jews,  1775-186?  (Philadelphia: 
Jewish  Publication  Society  of  America,  1955),  3  vols. 

365 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

fit  of  desperation  on  account  of  pecuniary  embarrassments,  he, 
with  a  hair  trigger  pistol,  terminated  his  existence.  He  was  a 
carpenter  by  trade.  .  .  ." 8 

Living  conditions,  especially  in  the  big  cities,  were  often 
most  difficult.  Samuel  Gompers,  who  came  to  New  York  in 
1 863  at  the  age  of  thirteen,  later  described  the  tenement  in  which 
his  family  lived.  "Our  apartment  in  Sheriff  Street,55  Gompers 
recalled,  "was  a  typical  three  room  home.  The  largest,  the 
front  room,  was  a  combined  kitchen,  dining  room,  and  sitting 
room,  with  two  front  windows.  There  were  two  small  bed  rooms 
back,  which  had  windows  opening  into  the  hall.  We  got  water 
from  a  common  hydrant  in  the  yard  and  carried  it  upstairs. 
The  toilet  was  in  the  yard  also.5'9  And  this  was  better  than 
many, 

Anti-Jewish  prejudice  often  added  to  the  hardships.  One 
non-Jewish  peddler  commented  that  one  day  he  sold  some 
goods  in  a  tavern  in  a  small  town  in  Delaware  and  was  ap- 
prehended by  a  local  official  who  thought  he  was  a  Jew.  When, 
however,  he  showed  his  passport  and  proved  that  he  was  not  a 
Jew,  the  official  said:  "As  I  see  that  you5re  an  honest  Protestant, 
I'll  let  you  go,  though  it's  costing  me  $25.  Pm  no  friend  of  the 
Jews  and  if  you  were  one  .  .  .  you  would  have  been  fined  $50 
or  gone  to  jail,  and  I  would  have  got  half  of  the  cash  for  my 
pains.  .  .  ." r  ° 

It  is  true  that  Jews  were  not  the  only  targets  of  prejudice. 
They  were  often  victims  of  the  general  attitude  of  anti-foreign 
and  anti-German  prejudice,  as  revealed  in  the  following 
doggerel: 

8  Morris  U.  Schappes,  A  Documentary  History  of  the  Jews  of  the  United  States,  i6$4- 
i%7$  (New  York:  Citadel  Press,  1950),  p.  287. 

»  Robert  Ernst,  Immigrant  Life  in  New  Tork  City,  1822-1863  (New  York:  King's 
Crown  Press,  Columbia  University,  1949),  p.  51, 

1  °  Glanz,  p.  127. 
266 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

O,  Germany,  Germany,  land  of  fiddlers, 

Of  mad  musicians,  cabbages  and  "sour-krout" ; 

Filled  with  base  barons  and  with  Jewish  peddlers.  .  .  . x  I 

The  religious  activities  of  these  Jews  also  were  commentaries 
upon  their  early  struggles.  Funds  were  meager,  and  most  of 
the  existing  congregations  held  services  in  rented  rooms. z  2  The 
iirst  constitution  of  Congregation  Adath  Israel  of  Louisville, 
-organized  in  1842,  stipulated  that  whenever  the  treasurer  had 
the  sum  of  $50,  the  whole  congregation  had  to  be  convened  to 
decide  what  to  do  with  the  money.13  Rodeph  Shalom  Con- 
gregation of  Philadelphia,  in  1849,  fifty-four  years  after  its 
founding,  still  depended  upon  the  rental  of  the  cellar  of  the 
synagogue  as  a  storage  place  for  beer,  although  this  practice 
Avas  soon  to  be  discontinued. I4  The  now  wealthy  Congregation 
Emanu-El  of  New  York  could  raise  only  $28.25  from  its  members 
;at  its  first  meeting  in  1845. IS 

Businesses  were  often  begun  very  humbly.  One  traveler  in 
•California  stated  that  "the  Jewish  shops  were  generally  rattle- 
trap erections  about  the  size  of  a  bathing  machine,  so  small 
that  one  half  of  the  stock  had  to  be  displayed  suspended  from 
projecting  sticks  outside.  .  .  ." 1<s 

Dr.  Jacob  R.  Marcus  calls  Henry  Seessel  the  typical  German 
Jewish  immigrant.  Having  migrated  to  New  Orleans  about 

11  Ibid.,  pp.  130  ff. 

13  Stella  Obst,  The  Story  of  Adath  Israel,  Boston,  Mass.  (Boston,  1917);  "Outline  of 
the  History  of  Reform  Congregation  Keneseth  Israel,"  Tear  Book  of  Reform  Con" 
gregation  Keneseth  Israel,  Philadelphia,  Pa.  (Philadelphia,  1889-1892),  I-III. 

x*  Charles  Goldsmith,  Congregation  Adath  Israel,  Louisville,  Kentucky  (Louisville,  1906). 

**  Minute  Book  of  Congregation  Rodeph  Shalom  of  Philadelphia,  1847-1851, 
December  9,  1849. 

Js  Myer  Stern,  History  of  Temple  Emanu-El  of  New  Tork  (New  York,  1895),  excerpts 
from  the  first  meeting,  April  16,  1845,  and  following;  Trustees  Minutes  of  Temple 
Emanu-El,  New  York,  book  1862-1876,  October  7,  1866  —  May  I,  1869. 

16  Glanz,  p.  123. 

267 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

1843,  Seessel  was  for  years  an  itinerant  merchant,  peddling 
clothes  and  jewelry.  In  turn  he  became  a  trunkmaker,  store- 
keeper, stock  raiser,  saloonkeeper,  and  butcher.  He  had  many 
family  problems.  Yet  eventually  he  did  make  a  modest  success.  * r 

Others  did  better.  Daniel  Frohman,  noted  theatrical  producer, 
recalled  that  his  father,  Henry  Frohman,  came  to  New  York 
in  1845  from  Darmstadt,  Germany,  and  for  a  while  was  a  pack 
peddler  in  the  upper  Hudson  Valley.  Later  he  prospered  and 
bought  a  wagon  with  which  he  could  purchase  clothing  whole- 
sale, a  practice  which  eventually  led  to  much  greater  success.  * 8 

Louis  Stix,  who  came  to  Cincinnati  in  1841,  also  began  as  a 
pack  peddler,  and,  likewise,  soon  owned  a  horse  and  wagon. 
A  few  years  later  he  was  able  to  open  a  little  store  with  some 
partners,  some  of  whom  continued  to  peddle.  A  few  years  before 
the  Civil  War,  the  firm  of  Louis  Stix  and  Co.  was  founded  and 
became  one  of  the  best-known  dry  goods  firms  in  the  Middle 
West.19  Others  had  similar  fortunate  experiences;20  most  of 
the  famed  Seligman  brothers,  for  example,  began  as  peddlers. 2I 
William  Frank,  originally  a  weaver  in  the  old  country,  began 
his  career  as  a  peddler  in  Eastern  Pennsylvania,  selling  dry 
goods,  and  eventually  becoming  a  prosperous  glass  manufac- 
turer. In  1846  he  moved  to  Pittsburgh,  and  was  one  of  the 
men  who  founded  the  Jewish  community  of  that  city. a  a 

So  it  was  for  many.  The  merchandise  of  the  peddler  was  sold 
for  a  profit,  small  reserves  were  accumulated,  greater  economic 

1 1  Marcus,  I,  353-67. 
*8  Glanz,  p.  125. 
x*  Marcus,  1,311-42. 
90  Glanz,  pp.  124,  127. 

al  Marcus,  I,  343;  In  Memoriam  Jesse  Seligman  (New  York:  Privately  printed,  1894). 
"  Marcus,  I,  302-8. 
268 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

opportunities  were  sought  out,  a  store  was  rented,  real  estate 
was  purchased,  and  new  ventures  were  explored.  Partnerships 
were  formed,  small  businesses  expanded,  and  often  the  profits 
were  invested  in  the  development  of  railroads,  coal,  quarries, 
lumbering,  oil,  or  factories. 2  3  The  little  Baltimore  meat  market 
of  John  M.  Dyer  became  one  of  the  large  packing  houses  of  the 
country.24  The  dry  goods  store  of  Simon  Fleisher  led  first  to 
the  manufacture  of  braids,  then  of  woolen  yarns,  and  finally 
grew  into  the  national  firm  of  Fleisher  Yarns. a  s  A  little  retail 
store  begun  by  Julius  Rosenwald  in  Springfield,  Illinois,  provided 
the  means  for  purchasing  into  and  expanding  the  mail  order 
house  of  Sears,  Roebuck  and  Co. 2  6 

After  a  successful  peddling  career,  Lazarus  Straus  established 
himself  in  business  in  Talbotton,  Georgia.  Then  he  moved  to 
New  York,  and  with  his  sons,  Isidor  and  Nathan,  opened  a 
crockery  and  glassware  store  in  1866.  A  few  years  later  they 
began  to  operate  the  china  and  silverware  departments  in  the 
basement  of  R.  H.  Macy  and  Go.  Eventually  Isidor  and  Nathan 
became  partners  in  the  store  itself  and  ultimately  its  owners. a  7 
Isidor,  the  oldest  son  and  the  guiding  force  in  founding  the 
great  Straus  family  fortunes,  was  a  most  resourceful  person. 
His  memoirs  record  that  on  the  day  of  his  entrance  into  the 
Georgia  Military  Academy  at  Marietta,  Georgia,  he  was  so 
repelled  by  the  hazing  in  that  institution  that  he  refused  to 

3  3  Ely  E.  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life  of  American  Jewry,  1860-1875"  (Prize  Essay, 
Hebrew  Union  College  Library),  pp.  4-7. 

*4Adolph  Guttmacher,  History  of  the  Baltimore  Hebrew  Congregation^  1830-190$ 
(Baltimore,  1905). 

*s  Henry  Samuel  Morais,  The  Jews  of  Philadelphia  (Philadelphia:  Levytype  Co., 
1894),  p.  263. 

36  H.  Elliot  Snyder,  History  of  Congregation  Brith  Shalom  of  Springfield,  Illinois  (7Oth 
Anniversary). 

a*  Pilchik,  p.  13. 

269 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

become  a  student,  and  the  next  morning  he  determined,  instead, 
to  make  a  career  for  himself  in  business.  He  states: 

...  I  hired  a  buggy  with  a  driver  and  visited  a  mill  which  was  situated 
a  few  miles  away  and  made  a  contract  for  the  delivery  to  me  of  some 
of  the  mill's  product,  on  which  I  made  a  very  good  turn,  and  thus 
became  embarked  on  a  mercantile  career,  which  has  been  my  occupa- 
tion ever  since.  To  the  best  of  my  recollection,  I  went  to  Atlanta  the 
following  day,  sold  for  future  delivery  what  I  had  contracted  for  at 
the  factory  the  previous  day,  and  embarked  in  other  transactions. 
So  that,  when  I  returned  to  Talbotton,  after  an  absence  of  probably 
two  weeks,  and  related  my  experiences,  the  surprising  turn  of  events 
with  their  successful  results  in  a  measure  appeased  the  disappoint- 
ment which  an  utter  failure  of  the  purpose  of  my  trip  would  have 
caused. 

Thus,  though  Isidor  had  set  out  from  home  to  become  a 
scholar,  he  returned  as  a  successful,  embryonic  businessman. 
He  seemed  to  have  the  knack  for  making  the  best  of  difficult 
situations.  In  the  summer  of  1863,  at  the  age  of  twenty,  he  set 
out  for  Europe  to  help  a  blockade-running  firm  purchase  goods 
for  the  South  through  the  sale  of  Southern  cotton.  He  reached 
his  destination  safely  after  a  dangerous  sea  voyage.  Although 
this  particular  mission  proved  unsuccessful,  this  young,  enter- 
prising businessman  returned  to  the  United  States  two  years 
later,  with  $10,000  in  gold  which  he  had  earned  in  other 
ventures. 3  8 

Of  course,  all  the  German  Jews  were  not  so  ingenious,  daring, 
and  resourceful  as  Isidor  Straus,  and  all  of  them  did  not  become 
wealthy;  but  many  did  prosper.  The  business  directories  in  most 
cities  indicate  the  increase  in  Jewish  business  concerns.  From 
1865  to  1875,  the  number  of  Jewish  business  firms  in  Baltimore 
more  than  doubled;  in  Cincinnati,  from  1860  to  1880,  the 
number  more  than  tripled;  and  in  Cleveland,  from  1863  to  1880, 
it  quadrupled.  Chicago,  New  York,  Philadelphia,  Milwaukee, 

a*  Marcus,  II,  301-16. 
270 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW, 

St.  Louis,  and  other  cities  showed  increases  in  similar  propor- 
tions.29  This  increase  in  the  number  of  Jewish  firms  does  not 
necessarily  imply  that  each  particular  business  grew  in  size 
and  wealth,  but  certainly  new  business  firms  would  not  have 
been  established  if  the  others  had  not  succeeded. 

An  additional  confirmation  of  this  increasing  prosperity  was 
the  fact  that  many  new  synagogue  buildings  were  erected,  some 
of  them  costing  as  much  as  $300,000. 3°  In  1850  the  United 
States  Census  valued  Jewish  church  property  at  one  half  million 
dollars.  In  1860  this  had  doubled,  and  by  1873  such  property 
was  valued  at  over  five  million  dollars. 3  x  Educational  institu- 
tions and  philanthropic  societies  also  were  the  beneficiaries  of 
this  increase  in  wealth.  It  was  reported,  in  1881,  that  a  single 
charity  Purim  Ball  in  New  York  netted  $22,000. 3a  The  homes, 
clothing,  entertainment,  and  travels  of  the  Jews  of  this  period 
all  evidenced  the  growing  prosperity. 

This  is  the  general  story.  Was  it  different  from  the  norm  of 
American  economic  life  of  the  time?  Were  the  Jews  active  in  all 
phases  or  only  in  certain  aspects  of  business  life?  Did  they  engage 
in  agriculture?  Were  they  prominent  in  the  laboring  and 


a»  Pilchik,  pp.  29,  48,  51;  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life  of  American  Jewry,  1875- 
1880"  (Prize  Essay,  H.  U.  C.  Library),  pp.  6-7,  9-10,  17-18,  21. 

s  °  Trustees  Minutes  of  Temple  Emanu-El,  New  York,  book  1862-1876,  October  7, 
1866  —  May  I,  1869;  Allgemeine  Zeitung  des  Judentums,  XXXVI  (1872),  355;  Jewish 
Chronicle  (London),  XXX  (1873),  509;  Israelitische  Wochenschrift  jur  die  Religiosen 
und  Sodden  Interessen  des  Judentums  (Breslau,  Germany),  VII  (1876),  433;  Isaac  M. 
Wise  and  Max  B.  May,  The  History  of  the  K.  K.  Bene  Teshurun,  of  Cincinnati,  Ohio, 
from  the  Date  of  Organization  (Cincinnati,  1892). 

3*  Arthur  J.  Lelyveld,  "Economic  Life  of  American  Jewry,  1860-1877"  (Prize 
Essay,  Hebrew  Union  College  Library),  pp.  163  ff.  For  greater  detail,  see  Allan 
Tarshish,  "The  Rise  of  American  Judaism"  (Doctoral  thesis,  Hebrew  Union 
College  Library),  note  127. 

3 * Israelitische  Wochenschrift,  XII  (1881),  162;  Archives  Israelites  (Paris),  XXV 
(1864),  498. 

27! 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

capitalistic  groups?  Were  they  pioneers  or  followers?  Did  they 
contribute  significantly  to  American  economic  development? 
We  turn  now  to  a  consideration  of  these  questions. 

JEWISH  ECONOMIC  LIFE  AS  COMPARED  TO  GENERAL 
AMERICAN  ECONOMIC  LIFE 

Jewish  economic  activity  did  not  exist  in  a  vacuum,  nor  were 
Jews  business  geniuses  whose  talents  defied  the  laws  of  the 
economic  order  in  which  they  lived.  They  may  have  been 
strengthened  on  the  anvil  of  centuries  of  persecution;  being 
compelled  to  live  on  the  periphery  of  medieval  society,  they 
may  have  learned  how  to  take  advantage  of  any  slight  op- 
portunity; they  may  have  been  sharpened  by  talmudic  study 
and  vitalized  by  Jewish  education;  but,  for  the  most  part,  their 
success  could  be  attributed  to  the  remarkable  expansion  and 
development  of  the  United  States  at  that  time.  They,  too,  were 
affected  whenever  and  wherever  there  were  economic  disloca- 
tions and  recessions. 

When  the  country  was  expanding  slowly,  between  1840  and 
1860,  Jewish  economic  development  was  gradual.  With  the 
outbreak  of  the  Civil  War  in  1861,  the  whole  country  suffered  a 
temporary  depression  due  to  the  sudden  loss  of  Southern 
accounts,  the  cancellation  of  many  Southern  debts,  and  the 
uncertainty  of  events.  Jewish  business  was  affected  propor- 
tionately. The  depression  was,  however,  of  short  duration, 
lasting  only  about  a  year,  and  ended  when  the  government 
began  to  place  orders  for  various  goods.  Then  Civil  War  business 
boomed,  especially  in  the  North,  and  many  Jews  prospered 
with  the  rest  of  the  business  community. 

The  wholesale  clothing  business  as  it  is  now  known  had  its 
beginnings  during  the  Civil  War  years.  The  government's 
demand  for  uniforms  required  an  unusually  large  production 

272 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

of  clothing,  and  by  reason  of  their  long  association  with  the 
needle  trade  in  Europe,  Jews  were  particularly  equipped  to 
provide  this  need.  The  mass  production  of  clothing  became 
largely  a  Jewish  enterprise.  Jews  exercised  their  ingenuity  to 
provide  acceptable  clothing  at  low  prices,  first  for  government 
needs,  and  then  for  people  of  modest  means.  Thus  Jews  brought 
democracy  by  clothing  all  men,  more  or  less  alike. 3  3 

The  boom  lasted  until  1873,  during  which  time  the  great 
Westward  Movement  and  the  full  economic  revolution  came 
into  being.  The  depression,  setting  in  in  that  year,  lasted  until 
1879  and  was  responsible  for  some  52,000  business  failures. 
Although  many  Jews  were  involved  in  the  catastrophe,  it  was 
reported  that  not  one  Jewish  banking  house  suspended  payment. 
On  the  whole,  Jewish  business  was  solid. 34 

The  epic  adventures  of  Rabbi  Abraham  Joseph  Ash  of  the 
first  Russian  American  Jewish  congregation  of  New  York  are 
illustrative.  The  business  opportunities  of  the  Civil  War  caused 
him  to  leave  the  rabbinate  for  the  hoop  skirt  industry,  in  which 
he  made  nearly  $10,000.  Becoming  a  lay  leader  of  the  con- 
gregation, Ash  supported  it  generously  until  the  panic  of  1873 
caused  his  business  to  fail  and  he  returned  to  the  rabbinate. 
After  three  years  he  decided  that  business  was  on  the  upswing 
and  tried  again.  His  optimism  was  premature  inasmuch  as  the 
depression  lasted  six  years,  and  again  he  failed.  This  time  Ash 
definitely  decided  that  he  was  not  a  business  genius  and  returned 
permanently  to  the  rabbinate. 3S 

33  Judith  Grecnfdd,  "The  Role  of  the  Jews  in  the  Development  of  the  Clothing 
Industry  in  the  United  States,"  TWO  Annual  of  Jewish  Social  Science  (New  York, 
1947-1948),  II-III,  180-204. 

34Lelyveld,  pp.  3-9;  Israelitische  Wochenschrift,  XI  (1880),  176;  Jewish  World 
(London),  October  31, 1873;  Allgemeine  Zeitung  des  Judentoms,  XXXVII  (1873),  808. 

3s  J.  D.  Eisenstein,  "The  History  of  the  First  Russian-American  Jewish  Con- 
gregation," Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society  [PAJHS\,  IX  (1901), 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

Still,  in  the  main,  this  was  a  period  of  expansion  and 
prosperity.  From  1860  to  1880,  the  population  of  the  nation 
increased  from  thirty-one  million  to  fifty  million;  the  value  of 
farm  property  from  eight  billion  to  twelve  billion  dollars;  the 
value  of  domestic  manufactures  from  two  billion  to  more  than 
five  billion  dollars;  the  number  of  patents  issued  from  five 
thousand  to  fourteen  thousand;  railroad  mileage  from  thirty 
thousand  to  ninety-three  thousand;  tons  of  coal  mined  from 
thirteen  million  to  sixty-three  million;  gallons  of  petroleum 
produced  from  twenty-one  million  to  more  than  one  billion; 
and  tons  of  steel  produced  from  practically  nothing  to  more 
than  one  million.36  These  figures  tell  the  story  of  the  basic 
economic  expansion  of  the  country  and  give  the  fundamental 
reason  for  the  general  prosperity  of  the  Jew  at  that  time. 

IN  VARIOUS  LOCALITIES 

Economic  activity  varied  in  different  parts  of  the  country,  and 
Jewish  economic  life  generally  followed  the  pattern  of  each 
region. 

New  England,  which  had  prospered  greatly  in  colonial  times, 
slowed  down  in  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Many  of 
her  former  settlers,  tired  of  wrestling  with  her  stony  ground, 
followed  the  covered  wagon  across  the  plains  of  the  Middle 
West  and  became  pioneers  of  westward  expansion.  Since  new 
immigrants  were  not  attracted  to  a  region  which  was  more 
or  less  static,  New  England's  Jewish  population  did  not  greatly 
increase;  Jewish  business  establishments  in  Boston,  for  instance, 
multiplied  very  slowly  during  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth 
century.37 

3«Schlesinger,  p.  276. 

37Tarshish,  "The  Rise  of  American  Judaism,"  Appendix  A  and  B;  Pilchik, 
"Economic  Life,  1875-1880,"  pp.  5-6. 

274 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

Despite  the  general  westward  movement,  the  cities  of  the 
Middle  Eastern  Seaboard,  which  had  become  highly  indus- 
trialized, grew  considerably  during  this  period.  Large  groups 
of  immigrants  poured  into  the  ports  of  the  Middle  Atlantic 
Coast.  Aided  earlier  by  the  opening  of  the  Erie  Canal,  New 
York,  as  the  major  seaport  and  port  of  entry,  expanded  phenom- 
enally in  this  period,  and  Jewish  economic  enterprises  more 
than  tripled.  The  same  situation  prevailed  in  other  cities  of  the 
Middle  Atlantic  section. 3  8 

Even  before  the  Civil  War,  the  slavery  system  had  discouraged 
Southern  industrialization,  and  as  a  whole  this  region  did  not 
share  proportionately  in  the  general  expansion.  Most  of  the 
new  immigrants  chose  to  settle  elsewhere.  The  destruction 
wrought  by  the  Civil  War  with  its  subsequent  dislocations, 
together  with  the  harsh  reconstruction  methods  of  the  North, 
so  crippled  the  South  that  for  many  years  she  was  unable  to 
partake  of  the  favorable  economic  trend.  The  Jews  of  the  South 
suffered  with  their  neighbors.  Jewish  business  in  Savannah, 
Georgia,  increased  only  slightly  in  this  period.  Business  firms 
in  Charleston,  South  Carolina,  once  one  of  the  great  Jewish 
centers  of  the  nation,  showed  very  little  expansion.  Although 
some  sections  of  the  South  prospered,  for  the  most  part  the 
region  was  fairly  static. 3  9 

The  Middle  West  also  prospered  greatly  during  this  period, 
and  so  did  many  of  the  Jews  who  lived  there.  Cincinnati  became 
known  as  "the  Queen  City  of  the  West"  and  also  as  "Porkopolis" 
because  of  its  large  meat  packing  industry.  Cincinnati's  Jewish 
population,  at  this  time  of  the  city's  greatest  development,  was 

a*  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  p.  27;  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1875- 
1880,"  pp.  6-7. 

a  9  Barnett  A.  Elzas,  The  Jews  of  South  Carolina  (Philadelphia:  J.  B.  Lippincott, 
1905),  pp.  260-61;  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  p.  34;  Pilchik,  "Economic 
Life,  1875-1880,"  pp.  I3-I5- 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

the  largest  and  richest  west  of  the  Atlantic  Seaboard.  Thus  it 
was  not  surprising  that  Isaac  Mayer  Wise,  one  of  the  great 
American  Jewish  leaders  of  the  time,  should  have  been  one  of 
Cincinnati's  rabbis,  and  that  the  first  permanent  rabbinical 
seminary  as  well  as  the  first  successful  religious  union  of  con- 
gregations should  have  originated  there.40 

The  picture  was  similar  in  Cleveland,  Chicago,  St.  Louis, 
Milwaukee,  and  other  teeming  cities  of  the  Middle  West.  The 
great  expansion  of  cities  like  Chicago  and  Cleveland  took  place 
in  the  latter  part  of  the  nineteenth  century  and  in  the  years 
which  followed,  and  it  was  then  that  they  far  outdistanced 
Cincinnati  in  Jewish  population  and  wealth.41 

The  Far  West  was  the  scene  of  unusual  growth.  The  gold 
mines  of  California,  the  Great  Plains  west  of  the  Mississippi, 
the  transcontinental  railroads,  all  contributed  to  an  expansion 
of  wealth  unique  in  the  annals  of  human  history.  Jews  went 
with  the  other  pioneers  into  mining  camps  and  into  agricultural 
towns  and  cities.  Jewish  clothing  stores  were  established  in  the 
outposts;  banking  houses  in  the  metropolitan  centers.  It  has 
been  reported  that  the  standard  equipment  of  many  of  these 
Jews  was  a  shovel  and  a  gun:  a  shovel  with  which  to  dig  their 
way  out  of  the  snow  if  necessary,  and  a  gun  for  protection  in 
the  many  lawless  sections  of  this  new  region.  From  the  begin- 
ning, Jews  were  found  in  San  Francisco,  the  nerve  center  of 
the  Far  West,  and  they  prospered  with  it. 4* 

*°  Die  Neu&it  (Vienna,  Austria),  XIV  (1874). 

4*  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  pp.  48,  51-52;  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life, 
1875-1880,"  pp.  17-18,  20-21;  The  Israelite  (Cincinnati),  I  (1854),  8;  ibid.,  IV 
(1857),  396;  ibid.,  VII  (1860),  January  6;  Alexander  Goodkowitz  [Alexander  D. 
Goode],  "History  of  Jewish  Economic  Life  in  the  United  States,  1830-1860" 
(Prize  Essay,  Hebrew  Union  College  Library,  1933);  The  Occident  and  American 
Jewish  Advocate  (Philadelphia),  X  (No.  i),  41;  Archives  Israelites,  XVIII  (1857),  59. 

4»  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  p.  56;  Albert  M.  Friedenberg,  "Letters 
of  a  California  Pioneer,"  PAJHS,  XXXI  (1928),  135-71  (twenty-seven  letters 
written  by  Alexander  Mayer  of  California  to  relatives  in  1850). 

276 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

SPECIFIC  JEWISH  ECONOMIC  ACTIVITIES 

Did  Jews  participate  in  all  phases  of  economic  life?  Did  they 
figure  proportionately  with  the  rest  of  the  population  in  industry, 
farming,  mining,  merchandising,  the  professions,  and  the  like? 
Or  did  they  bulk  large  in  only  a  few  of  these? 

As  we  study  the  business  directories,  the  advertisements  in 
newspapers,  the  records  of  congregations,  communities,  and 
individuals,  and  even  the  hospital  statistics,  we  learn  that  Jews 
engaged  in  practically  every  endeavor  possible  on  this  broad 
and  varied  continent.  They  were  in  every  type  of  mercantile 
pursuit;  they  were  dentists,  doctors,  teachers,  and  lawyers;  they 
were  musicians,  magicians,  and  opticians;  they  were  miners 
and  gold  refiners;  they  were  harness  makers  and  locksmiths; 
they  sold  oil  and  patent  medicines;  they  were  barbers,  bar- 
keepers, marble  cutters,  waiters,  and  weavers.43 

In  the  upper  levels  of  economic  life  they  were  grain  kings, 
engineers,  steel  producers,  clothing  manufacturers,  railroad 
financiers,  and  large  realty  brokers.44  Abraham  Hart  was  a 
well-known  publisher  at  the  beginning  of  this  period;  Lorenz 
Brentano  began  to  loom  large  toward  the  latter  part  of  the 
nineteenth  century.45  John  M.  Dyer  of  Baltimore  made  a 
fortune  in  the  packing  business  by  1847,  and  Nelson  Morris 

43  The  Asmonean  (New  York),  I  (1849),  7-8,  63;  ibid.,  Ill  (1851),  112,  176,  183-84; 
ibid.,  IV  (1852),  91,  108,  115,  138,  141,  147,  151,  162-63,  170,  183,  187,  196, 
198;  ibid.,  V  (1853),  73,  97;  ibid.,  VI  (1854),  no,  176;  ibid.,  VII  (1855),  3,  37, 
119,  301;  The  Occident,  X  (1852-53),  41;  The  Hebrew  (San  Francisco),  I,  December 
18,  1863,  April  8,  1864;  The  Weekly  Gleaner  (San  Francisco),  I  (1857),  328;  ibid., 
Ill,  March  II,  1859;  The  Israelite,  III  (1856),  108;  ibid.,  VII  (1860),  198;  ibid.,  XI 
(1864),  No.  i;  ibid.,  XIX,  July  5, 1872;  ibid.,  XXVIII  (1881),  No.  26;  The  Annual 
Reports  of  Mt.  Sinai  Hospital,  New  York,  1857-1872,  reports  of  1861  and  1871. 

44  Paul  Masserman  and  Max  Baker,  The  Jews  Come  to  America  (New  York:  Bloch, 
1932),  pp.  136-64;  George  Cohen,  The  Jews  in  the  Making  of  America  (Boston: 
Stratford  Co.,  1924),  p.  224. 

45  Masserman  and  Baker,  pp.  212  ff. 

277 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

did  the  same  in  Chicago  after  the  Civil  War.46  There  were 
many  Jews  in  the  rising  insurance  business. 4  7  The  Aliens  of 
Philadelphia  and  Joseph  Stettheimer  and  Daniel  Bettman  of 
New  York  were  among  the  earliest  dealers  in  petroleum.48 
Jews  owned  large  quarries  in  Virginia,  and  were  important 
cotton  brokers. 4  9 

Colonel  Samuel  S.  Myers  pioneered  in  manufacturing  illu- 
minating gas  in  Richmond,  and  Joshua  Lazarus  introduced 
it  into  the  city  of  Charleston,  South  Carolina. s  °  Moritz  Fried- 
lander  amassed  wealth  from  grain  in  Chicago,  and  Michael 
Reese  prospered  from  Chicago  real  estate.  The  Sutro  tunnel 
was  named  for  Adolph  Sutro,  its  engineer.  John  Rosenfelt 
helped  to  develop  the  coal  fields  of  Canada,  and  the  Hendricks 
family  of  New  York  was  prominent  in  the  metal  business.51 
Julius  Bien  pioneered  in  lithographing,  and  Bernard  Solomon 
was  the  first  to  introduce  colored  leather  into  the  United  States. s  * 
Swiss-born  Meyer  Guggenheim  came  to  the  United  States  in 
1847,  at  the  age  of  nineteen.  Eventually  he  entered  the  smelting 
business  and  became  one  of  the  great  industrial  tycoons  of 
the  age.53 

Jews  were  prominent  in  the  fur  trade,  and  in  the  clothing, 
tobacco,  and  dry  goods  businesses  in  San  Francisco,  and  soon 

«6  Ibid.t  pp.  136-64. 

4?Morais,  pp.  184-87,  271;  Henry  Cohen,  "Settlement  of  the  Jews  in  Texas," 
PAJHS,  II  (1894),  139-56. 

*8  Morals,  pp.  241-45. 

49  Herbert  T.  Ezekiel  and  Gaston  Liechtenstein,  The  History  of  the  Jews  of  Richmond, 
1369-1917  (Richmond:  Herbert  T.  Ezekiel,  1917),  pp.  l6off.;  Morais,  p.  250. 

s°  Ezekiel  and  Liechtenstein,  p.  140;  Elzas,  p.  192. 

s*  Masserman  and  Baker,  pp.  139  ff. 

«3  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  pp.  13-14. 

^  Dictionary  of  American  Biography,  VIII,  38;  Stewart  H.  Holbrook,  The  Age  of  the 
Moguls  (New  York:  Doubleday,  1953),  p.  277. 

278 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

became  actively  interested  in  the  development  of  Alaska.  They 
gave  Senator  Cornelius  Cole  of  California  valuable  information 
which  he  transmitted  to  Secretary  of  State  William  Henry 
Seward,  enabling  him  to  make  the  decision  to  purchase  the 
territory  of  Alaska  from  Russia.  Some  Jews  settled  in  Alaska, 
and  as  early  as  1869  a  San  Francisco  Jewish  paper  reported 
that  there  were  fourteen  Jewish  residents  in  Sitka.  They  even 
planned  to  organize  a  congregation  there,  but  this  did  not 
eventuate.  They  retained  their  interest  in  American  Jewish 
affairs,  and  one  of  them,  A.  Levy,  wrote  a  letter  protesting  the 
1869  Philadelphia  conference  of  Reform  rabbis. S4 

We  have  mentioned  but  a  fraction  of  the  innumerable 
activities  of  Jews.  In  the  main,  however,  Jewish  economic  life 
fell  into  certain  specific  patterns.  A  rough  tabulation  of  the 
number  of  business  firms  in  existence  in  1880  discloses  that 
about  2  per  cent  were  in  finance,  4  per  cent  in  jewelry,  6  per  cent 
in  tobacco,  and  approximately  50  per  cent  were  in  clothing  and 
allied  occupations.  The  rest  were  in  miscellaneous  businesses. s  s 

Clothing  was  easily  the  principal  Jewish  business  activity  on 
the  East  Coast,  in  the  South,  in  the  Middle  West,  and  in  the 
Far  West. 5  6  The  production  of  men's  ready-made  clothes  had 
begun  in  the  iSao's,  and  by  1840  this  industry  was  considered 
of  some  significance  in  the  economy  of  New  York  City.  Between 
1830  and  1860  most  of  the  ready-made  clothing  was  of  the 
cheap  variety  for  sailors,  coal  miners,  and  the  poor.  Better 
clothes  were  still  being  made  to  order.  Until  about  1850  most 

54  Rudolph  Glanz,   The  Jews  in  American  Alaska,  1867-1880   (New  York,  1953), 

PP-  4-43. 

ss  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1875-1880,"  p.  24;  for  a  detailed  listing,  see  Tarshish, 

"The  Rise  of  American  Judaism,"  note  170. 

s«  Minute  Book,  Register  of  Marriages  of  Temple  Emanu-El  of  New  York,  1845- 

1897;  Goode,  "Jewish  Economic  Life,  1830-1860";  Glazer,  pp.  196  ff.;  Snyder, 

History  of  Congregation  Brith  Sholom  of  Springfield,  Illinois. 

279 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

of  the  tailors  were  English  or  native  Americans.  Then  many  of 
the  new  Irish  immigrants  entered  the  industry,  to  be  followed 
by  the  Germans  who  soon  began  to  dominate  it. 

The  introduction  of  the  sewing  machine  in  1850  did  much 
to  stimulate  the  expansion  of  the  industry.  Efficiency  was  greatly 
increased,  and  mass  production  was  begun  by  the  Germans, 
who  introduced  the  division  of  labor.  Separate  workers  were 
used  for  operating  the  machines,  basting,  finishing,  etc.  Then 
came  the  Civil  War  which,  as  we  have  seen,  created  a  tremen- 
dous demand  for  ready-made  clothing. 

Thus  the  industry  came  into  its  own,  and  the  following 
statistics  reveal  the  story.  In  1850  there  were  some  4,200  shops 
with  a  capital  investment  of  $12,500,000  producing  $48,000,000 
worth  of  products  with  96,000  workers.  By  1860  there  were 
fewer  shops  (the  shops  had  become  larger),  some  4,000  of  them, 
but  the  capital  investment  had  more  than  doubled:  $27,000,000. 
Production,  too,  had  almost  doubled  and  could  now  be  estimated 
as  worth  about  $80,000,000.  The  workers  had  increased,  but 
not  nearly  proportionately;  there  were  some  115,000.  In  1870 
there  were  some  8,000  concerns,  about  twice  as  many  as  there 
had  been  in  1860,  but  capital  investment  was  almost  $150,- 
000,000,  approximately  six  times  what  it  had  been  in  1860. 
Because  of  the  introduction  of  machinery,  however,  the  number 
of  workers  actually  dropped  to  108,000.  By  1880  the  number  of 
firms  had  decreased  to  some  6,000,  but,  having  more  machinery, 
these  larger  concerns  were  able  to  manufacture  clothing  worth 
$209, 000,000. S7 

Jewish  success  in  the  clothing  industry  resulted  not  only 
from  mass  production,  but  also  from  the  innovations  of  such 
new  methods  as  small  profits,  reduced  prices,  direct  selling,  the 
use  of  specialized  clothing  stores,  and  the  like.  The  number  of 

"Judith  Grcenfdd,  #&,  II-III,  180-204. 
280 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

Jewish  clothing  houses  throughout  the  country  was  legion. 
Practically  every  large  city  had  some  important  clothing  man- 
ufacturer. The  firm  of  Hart,  Schaffner  and  Marx  of  Chicago 
was  probably  the  most  famous. s  8  In  New  York  City,  80  per  cent 
of  all  retail,  and  90  per  cent  of  all  wholesale  clothing  firms, 
were  owned  by  Jews.  In  the  rest  of  the  country,  75  per  cent  of 
the  clothing  companies  were  Jewish,  and  most  of  them  were 
controlled  by  Jews.59  The  department  store,  the  eventual 
outgrowth  of  the  clothing  store,  appeared  in  almost  every  city 
throughout  the  country,  most  of  them  owned  by  Jews.  Macy's, 
Saks's,  Gimbel's,  Lifs,  Snellenburg's,  and  Bamberger's  are 
only  a  few  of  the  numerous  department  stores  which  spread 
throughout  the  land  and  provided  efficient  buying  for  millions 
of  Americans. 

Jews  became  prominent  in  the  shoe  industry  and  were  leaders 
in  the  field  for  a  number  of  years,  with  Cincinnati  and  Chicago 
as  the  principal  centers.  Probably  the  most  famous  firm  was 
that  of  the  Florsheim  Shoe  Company  of  Chicago. €o  The  junk 
business  had  its  beginning  in  this  period  and  gradually  became 
controlled  by  Jews.  A  number  of  steel  companies,  though  not 
the  largest  ones,  grew  from  some  of  these  businesses,  among 
which  were  the  Inland  Steel  Company  of  Chicago,  the  Pollak 
Steel  Company  of  Cincinnati,  and  the  Schonthal  Steel  Com- 
pany of  Columbus,  Ohio. 6  J 

Although  only  2  per  cent  of  Jewish  business  was  in  finance, 
banking,  and  brokerage,  this  proportion  was  greater  than  that 
of  the  general  population.  Jews  were  instrumental  in  the 
development  of  railroads,  in  the  underwriting  of  United  States 

s«  Klchik,  "Economic  Life,  1875-1880,"  pp.  1-3. 
**Ibid.9  pp.  6-7. 
60  Ibid.,  pp.  1-3. 
6l/&ttf.,  pp.  9-10. 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

bonds,  and  in  the  expansion  of  many  new  industries.  The  great 
New  York  firm  of  Kuhn,  Loeb  and  Company  played  an  impor- 
tant part  in  the  expansion  of  the  "iron  horse/'  especially  under 
the  leadership  of  Jacob  H.  Schiff,  who  came  to  the  United 
States  in  1865. 62 

The  Seligman  brothers  also  engaged  in  financing  Western 
railroads  and  provided  subscribers  for  the  $200,000,000  loan 
which  Jay  Cooke  floated  for  the  United  States  Government 
during  the  Civil  War.  Associated  with  them  was  August  Belmont, 
who,  as  the  American  representative  of  the  Rothschilds,  became 
one  of  the  richest  Jews  in  the  United  States.  The  Dictionary  of 
American  Biography  estimates  that  Belmont's  most  valuable  service 
for  the  North  during  the  Civil  War  was  perhaps  "a  constant  cor- 
respondence with  influential  friends  in  Europe,  the  Rothschilds 
and  others,  in  which  he  set  forth  forcibly  the  Northern  side  in 
the  great  conflict ....  His  influence  upon  public  opinion  in 
financial  and  political  circles,  both  in  England  and  throughout 
Continental  Europe,  was  of  value  to  Lincoln  and  his  advisors." 
Belmont's  wife  was  a  non-Jewess,  a  daughter  of  Commodore 
Matthew  C.  Perry,  and  he  showed  very  little  interest  in  Jewish 
affairs.  His  descendants  are  all  Christians. 6  3 

The  Lehmans,  Emanuel  and  Mayer,  amassed  wealth  as 
cotton  brokers,  then  went  into  the  banking  business,  and 
became  directors  of  many  banks,  railroads,  and  cotton  mills. 
When  the  State  of  Alabama,  in  1873,  had  difficulty  in  selling  a 
large  issue  of  bonds,  the  Lehmans  took  over  the  whole  issue.64 
Other  Jews  active  in  the  expansion  of  railroads  were  William 
Solomon  Rayner  of  Baltimore;  Charles  Hallgarten  and  Com- 
pany of  Chicago;  Philip  Heidelbach,  who  founded  the  Cincinnati 

6a  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,*'  pp.  14-16;  Burton  J.  Hendrick,  Tfa 
Jews  in  America  (New  York:  Doubleday,  Page  and  Co.,  1923),  pp.  19  ff. 

*s  Schappes,  pp.  451  ff. 

**  Pilule,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  p,  37. 
282 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

firm  of  Seasongood  and  Company,  promoted  the  Cincinnati 
Southern  Railroad,  and  was  a  director  of  the  Little  Miami 
Railroad;  and  Moritz  Kopperl,  who  made  his  wealth  as  a  coffee 
importer  and  then  became  head  of  the  National  Bank  of  Texas 
and  president  of  the  Gulf,  Colorado,  and  Santa  Fe  Railroad.65 

There  were  a  number  of  other  leading  Jewish  bankers  through- 
out the  country  in  both  large  and  small  cities. 6  6  The  banking 
and  commercial  interests  of  Ligonier,  Indiana,  were  for  a  time 
so  exclusively  in  the  hands  of  the  Straus  brothers  that  the  town 
was  often  jokingly  called  Strausville. 6  7  When  the  Open  Board 
of  Stockbrokers  was  organized  in  1851  in  New  York  City,  five 
Jewish  stockbrokers  were  among  the  charter  members:  George 
Henriques,  Emanuel  B.  Hart,  Charles  G.  Allen,  S.  M.  Schafer, 
and  Simon  Schafer. 6  8  Albert  Speyer  was  the  broker  for  Jay 
Gould  and  James  Fisk  when  they  tried  to  corner  the  gold 
market  in  1 869.  When  the  attempt  failed,  they  repudiated  their 
obligations,  but  Speyer  did  not,  and  died  a  poor  man. 6  9 

Approximately  34  per  cent  of  all  Jews  were  in  commerce, 
manufacturing,  and  finance,  the  majority  being  in  commerce.  In 
the  small  communities  this  percentage  was  even  higher.  In  the 
larger  communities  many  more  were  employees. 7  °  Proportion- 
ately, this  percentage  was  much  higher  than  that  of  the  general 
population,  most  of  whom  were  laborers,  farmers,  or  craftsmen. 

65  Isidor  Blum,  The  Jews  of  Baltimore  from  Early  Days  to  1910  (Baltimore:  Historical 
Review  Publishing  Co.,  1910),  p.  xi;  Goode,  "Jewish  Economic  Life,  1830-1860"; 
Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1875-1880,'*  pp.  21-22. 

66  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1860-1875,"  P-  32>  note  173;  Pilchik,  "Economic 
Life,  1875-1880,'*  pp.  IO-I2. 

*?  Ibid.,  p.  1 8. 

68  Lelyveld,  p.  141. 

69  Samuel  Walker  McCall,  The  Patriotism  of  the  American  Jew  (New  York:  Plymouth 
Press,  1924),  p.  190. 

?a  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1875-1880,"  pp.  24-26. 

283 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

For  centimes,  of  course,  the  only  opportunity  permitted  Jews 
in  economic  life  was  that  of  the  middleman.  When  they  came 
to  the  United  States  they  naturally  went  first  into  those  fields 
which  they  knew  and  understood.  Jewish  leaders  exhorted  them 
to  follow  the  normal  proportions  of  economic  life.  But  they 
were  not  interested  in  proportions;  they  were  more  interested 
in  using  their  abilities  to  make  the  most  of  the  opportunities 
which  the  country  opened  before  them. 7  x 

This  disproportion  in  the  commercial  field  aroused  criticism. 
An  article  in  the  Cincinnati  Presbyterian  in  1863  charged  that 
the  commercial  character  of  the  Jews  was  one  reason  why  they 
were  despised.72  In  1855  the  Philadelphia  Reporter  claimed  that 
the  Jews  oppressed  the  working  people,  but  another  Philadelphia 
paper,  The  Ledger,  pointed  out  that  Jews  paid  their  employees 
higher  wages  than  Christians. 73  In  1857,  claiming  that  Catholic 
workers  were  not  well  treated  by  Jews,  the  Archbishop  of 
Cincinnati  forbade  Catholics  to  work  for  them.  Rabbi  Max 
Lilienthal  disputed  the  charge  and  threatened  to  urge  a  Jewish 
boycott  of  Catholic  business  firms.  When  the  Catholic  banker 
who  had  presented  the  charges  to  the  archbishop  absconded 
with  the  savings  of  widows  and  orphans,  his  followers  were 
extremely  embarrassed. 74 

Undoubtedly,  some  Jewish  employers  did  take  advantage  of 
their  employees,  but,  unfortunately,  so  did  many  others.  The 
rise  of  the  labor  unions  and  the  development  of  enlightened 
public  opinion  modified  this  situation  as  time  went  on. 


f1  Circular  of  the  Hebrew  Agricultural  Society,  December,  1856,  in  the  files  of 
the  Hebrew  Agricultural  Society  among  the  records  of  the  B'nai  B'rith;  The 
Israelite,  I  (1854),  44;  ibid.,  IX  (1863),  388;  The  Occident,  XVIII  (1860),  143. 

»»  The  Israelite,  IX  (1863),  388. 
™  The  Occident,  XIII  (1855-56),  124  ff. 
»«  Ibid.,  XVIII  (i860),  23. 
284 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

LABOR  AND  THE  CLASS  STRUGGLE 

Although  unusual  opportunities  for  prosperity  prevailed  in  this 
period,  America  was  no  Shangri-la.  Poverty  still  existed  in  the 
United  States.  Every  man  did  not  leap  from  rags  to  riches,  and 
many  abuses  were  rampant  in  this  period  of  laissezjaire. 

Labor  unions  began  in  the  United  States  in  1829,  but  did  not 
at  first  coalesce  into  large-scale  organizations.  In  addition  to 
seeking  better  working  conditions  and  wages,  they  also  ex- 
pressed a  deep  interest  in  free  education  and  were  instrumental 
in  its  incorporation  as  an  integral  part  of  the  American  tradition. 
The  labor  movement  in  the  United  States  and  the  idea  of  the 
class  struggle  were  continually  nourished  from  Europe.  Sporadic 
strikes  were  attempted  from  time  to  time,  although  very  few 
were  really  effective.  Perhaps  the  most  far-reaching  strike  of 
the  early  period  was  that  of  the  tailors  in  1850.  It  was  not 
entirely  successful,  but  it  did  help  to  cement  relations  between 
tailors  of  different  nationalities  and  it  did  result  in  the  formation 
of  a  union  consisting  of  2,000  members.  The  depression  of 
1854-1855  and  the  panic  of  1857,  however,  broke  up  most  of  the 
unions.  But  again,  by  1863-1864,  a  number  of  strikes  for  higher 
wages  and  other  benefits  initiated  a  new  effort  to  form  labor 
unions,  most  of  them  also  short-lived. 

New  York  was  the  center  of  the  early  German  labor  movement 
in  America,  but  it  spread  elsewhere  wherever  German  labor 
settled  —  Philadelphia,  Baltimore,  Cincinnati,  St.  Louis,  and, 
to  a  minor  degree,  Chicago  and  Milwaukee.  In  the  twenty 
years  before  the  Civil  War,  German  workers  played  a  significant 
role  wherever  labor  battled  with  capital.  They  also  organized 
social  clubs  and  mutual  aid  societies  which  frequently  developed 
into  unions.  These  groups  were  constantly  influenced  by  new 
refugees  from  abroad  who  had  often  been  active  in  secret 
communistic  societies  and  had  been  harried  out  of  their  native 

285 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 


countries.  Short-lived  papers  were  published  from  time  to  time. 
One  of  these,  called  the  Republik  der  Arbeiter  (Republic  of  the 
Workers),  was  published  by  an  Arbeiterbund  (Workers3  League) 
dedicated  to  founding  and  supporting  a  communist  colony  in 
Wisconsin.  This  paper  appeared  as  a  monthly  in  January,  1850, 
became  a  weekly  from  April,  1851,  to  December,  1854,  and 
then  reverted  to  a  monthly  until  its  discontinuance  in  July, 

1855- 
While  the  intellectuals  influenced  the  workers,  their  attitude, 

in  turn,  was  modified  by  American  workers  who  were  not 
interested  in  the  destruction  of  American  political  institutions, 
but  sought,  rather,  economic  improvement  and  reform  within 
the  existing  political  framework. 7S  Even  though  small  groups  of 
intellectuals  were  convinced  that  the  only  solution  for  economic 
problems  lay  in  some  Utopian  project,  and  though  they  did  form 
small  colonies  with  the  purpose  of  putting  into  practice  the  ideal 
of  a  completely  equal  and  free  society,  these  experiments  were 
all  short-lived.  It  was  hard,  moreover,  for  such  ideas  to  take 
root  in  an  America  where,  for  example,  it  could  be  reported  in 
1849  that  on  the  West  Coast  carpenters  received  $16  a  day,  and 
common  laborers  $10  a  day. ?6 

Nevertheless,  after  the  Civil  War,  branches  of  the  Inter- 
national Workingman's  Association,  established  first  in  Europe 
in  1 864,  were  organized  in  some  of  the  industrial  centers  of  the 
United  States,  first  only  among  German  immigrants  and  then 
among  some  native  Americans.  The  first  number  of  the  weekly 
Arbezter-£eitung  (Workers'  Newspaper)  was  issued  in  1873.  A 
Social  Democratic  Party  was  organized  by  German  immigrants 
in  1874,  but  its  meetings  were  raided  by  the  police  and  by 

75  Ernst,  pp.  109-14. 

7*  Frederika  Brenner,  America  of  the  Fifties  ("Scandinavian  Classics,"  Vol.  XXIII 
[New  York:  The  American  Scandinavian  Foundation,  1924]). 

286 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

outraged  citizens.77  Socialism  had  little  appeal  in  a  country 
where  the  opportunities  of  private  wealth  were  greater  than  the 
dreams  of  the  socialistic  state. 

Labor  groups  not  interested  in  theories  and  Utopias  but  in 
wages  and  hours  of  work  had  slightly  more  success.  In  1866  the 
National  Labor  Movement,  the  first  general  organization,  was 
formed,  but  lasted  only  four  years.  As  the  country  became  more 
industrialized,  however,  the  demand  for  an  organized  labor 
group  became  more  insistent.  In  1879  a  national  union,  the 
Knights  of  Labor,  was  organized  with  the  purpose  of  uniting  all 
labor  —  white  and  negro,  male  and  female.  It  departed  from 
the  old  type  of  craft  union  based  on  the  medieval  guild  because 
it  was  felt  that  the  industrial  conditions  of  the  time  required 
more  complete  unionization  than  the  crafts  could  achieve.  It 
was,  however,  ahead  of  the  times.  The  rapidly  changing  social 
and  economic  situation,  the  incompetence  of  some  of  its  leaders, 
and  the  illiteracy  of  many  of  its  members  led  to  its  dissolution. 

It  was  not  until  1881  that  the  first  labor  union  destined  to 
occupy  a  permanent  and  important  place  in  American  life  came 
into  being.  The  American  Federation  of  Labor  was  organized 
by  Adolph  Strasser  and  Samuel  Gompers,  the  latter  an  English 
Jew.  A  federation  of  craft  unions,  it  was  more  efficient  and 
realistic  in  its  goals  than  the  Knights  of  Labor.  Its  real  power, 
however,  was  not  achieved  until  the  twentieth  century. 7  8 

The  majority  of  the  people  at  that  time  were  not  interested 
in  labor  unions,  and  many  violently  opposed  them  as  hindrances 
to  their  aspirations  towards  prosperity.  The  great  West,  stretch- 
ing from  the  Mississippi  River  to  the  Pacific,  with  its  cheap 
farms,  its  great  mineral  deposits,  and  its  growing  towns,  served 

1 1  Charles  and  Mary  Beard,  The  Rise  of  American  Civilization  (New  York:  Macmillan, 
1936),  II,  249-52. 
i*Ibid.y  pp.  211-22. 

287 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

as  a  safety  valve  for  the  East.  The  slogan  "Go  West,  young 
man"  was  more  effective  than  the  cry  of  the  class  struggle. 
Even  in  the  East,  expansion  and  opportunity,  surpassing  any 
in  the  history  of  the  world,  provided  sufficient  vistas  and  actual 
improvement  for  the  majority  of  the  people.  Most  of  the  Jews 
of  the  period  showed  little  interest  in  labor  unions  or  in  plans 
for  changing  society.  Compared  to  the  restrictions  of  their 
former  homes,  the  American  scene  offered  wide  freedom  and 
hope.  Instead  of  being  concerned  with  changing  society,  they 
were  more  interested  in  changing  and  adjusting  themselves  to 
take  advantage  of  what  lay  before  them. 

The  problem  of  labor  and  capital  appeared  to  many  only  a 
temporary  matter.  Most  workers  in  garment  factories  had  high 
hopes  of  becoming  employers  themselves,  and  it  must  be 
remembered  that  the  majority  of  Jews  of  that  period  were 
engaged  in  small  businesses  and  individualized  occupations. 
To  them,  the  basic  problem  was  simply  to  make  the  most  of  the 
opportunities  offered  them. 

JEWS  IN  THE  PROFESSIONS 

Some  Jews  did  enter  the  professions.  In  Cincinnati,  in  1867, 
there  were  four  doctors,  six  lawyers,  fourteen  teachers,  one 
chemist,  and  one  engineer  in  a  Jewish  population  of  some 
12,000.  In  1874,  with  approximately  the  same  population, 
there  were  eight  doctors,  fourteen  lawyers,  fourteen  teachers, 
and  others  in  various  professional  vocations.  A  similar  per- 
centage was  found  in  New  York  and  other  cities. 79  These  ratios 
were  small  compared  with  the  present,  for  the  mid-nineteenth 
century  saw  only  the  beginning  of  the  rise  of  a  substantial 

7»  Blum,  pp.  149  ff.;  Allgemeine  J&tfong  des  Judentums,  XXXIII  (1869),  53;  Die 
Ncuzfiti  XIV  (1874);  Israditische  Wochensckrift,  VI  (1875),  421;  Pilchik,  ''Economic 
Life,  1860-1875,"  pp.  34,  37,  and  other  directories  in  his  two  essays. 

288 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

Jewish  professional  class.  The  great  majority  of  the  Jews  were 
new  to  the  country.  Professional  pursuits  had  been  forbidden 
to  them  in  Europe,  and  not  enough  time  had  elapsed  for  them 
to  receive  the  necessary  education  in  the  United  States.  It  is 
true  that  a  number  of  the  earlier  Jewish  settlers  were  engaged 
in  professions,  but  business  offered  the  newly  arrived  Jew  the 
quickest  avenue  for  advancement. 

AGRICULTURE 

Agriculture  was  one  of  the  hotly  debated  subjects  of  Jewish 
life  at  this  time,  but  there  was  more  debate  about  it  than  action. 
Many  Jewish  leaders  believed  that  more  Jews  should  engage  in 
agriculture  to  produce  a  more  normal  distribution  of  occupa- 
tions and  to  demonstrate  a  more  permanent  rootage  in  America. 
The  Board  of  Delegates  of  American  Israelites,  the  Alliance 
Israelite  Universelle,  the  B'nai  B'rith,  the  Union  of  American 
Hebrew  Congregations,  and  other  organizations  planned  to 
settle  Jews  upon  farms. 

In  the  early  part  of  that  period  very  little  was  accomplished 
along  these  lines,  but  in  1881  the  New  York  branch  of  the 
Alliance  Israelite  Universelle  joined  with  the  Union  of  American 
Hebrew  Congregations  in  a  project  to  settle  East  European 
Jews  on  farms  in  Louisiana.  The  governor  of  that  state  had 
offered  160  acres  of  fertile  ground  in  Catahoula  Parish  to  any 
family  desiring  to  settle  there.  One  hundred  and  seventy-three 
Russian  Jews  accepted  the  offer,  but  the  plan  proved  a  failure. 
The  men  found  the  weather  too  hot,  many  contracted  malaria, 
the  Mississippi  River  flooded  the  land,  and  they  missed  their 
wives  and  families.  Eventually  they  all  abandoned  the  project. 

Solomon  Franklin  of  Pine  Bluff,  Arkansas,  tried  to  settle  200 
East  European  Jews  on  his  farmland,  but  nothing  came  of  this 
venture  either.  Nevertheless,  a  few  colonies  of  Jewish  fanners 

289 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

were  established  in  California;  Louisiana;  Long  Island,  New 
York;  as  well  as  near  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  and  Pine  Bluff, 
Arkansas.  The  Baron  Maurice  de  Hirsch  philanthropies  were 
partially  successful  in  settling  a  group  of  Jewish  farmers  in  New 
Jersey  in  the  1890*8.  Individually,  there  were  a  number  of  Jews 
who  became  active  in  farming  in  various  sections  of  the  country. 
A  Jewish  traveler  reported  that  he  had  found  a  number  of 
Jewish  sheepherders  in  California,  one  of  them  owning  30,000 
sheep.80  But  the  percentage  of  Jewish  farmers  remained  small. 
The  long  centuries  of  European  persecution  and  the  legal 
restrictions  against  Jews'  owning  land  had  had  their  effect.  The 
Jews  of  this  era  were  not  conditioned  in  mind  or  habit  to  go 
onto  the  land.  As  time  went  on,  however,  more  Jews  did  become 
farmers. 


80  The  Asmonean,  IV  (1851),  15,*  ibid.,  XII  (1855),  20;  The  Occident,  XVII  (1860), 
295;  Morals,  chapter  XXXV;  Max  Heller,  Jubilee  Souvenir  of  Temple  Sinai,  New 
Orleans,  1872-1922  (New  Orleans,  1922),  wherein  is  described  an  attempt  on  the 
part  of  the  New  York  branch  of  the  Alliance  Israelite  Universelle  and  the  Union 
of  American  Hebrew  Congregations,  with  the  cooperation  of  the  governor  of 
Louisiana,  to  settle  Jews  in  Catahoula  Parish,  Louisiana,  in  1881;  Proceedings  of  the 
Union  of  American  Hebrew  Congregations  (Cincinnati:  Bloch),  I  (1873-79),  282; 
Allgemeine  %eitung  des  Judentums,  XIX  (1855),  565,  describes  the  organization  of  an 
Agricultural  Society  in  New  York  in  1855;  ibid.,  XXI  (1857),  132,  describes  the 
organization  in  New  York  of  the  American  Jewish  Agricultural  Society;  ibid., 
XXIV  (1860),  653,  reports  the  efforts  of  Myer  Friede,  president  of  Congregation 
Bene  El  of  St.  Louis,  with  the  assistance  of  a  member  of  the  Missouri  Legislature, 
to  give  free  land  to  German  Jewish  settlers,-  ibid.9  XXXVI  (1872),  854,  reports 
another  plan  for  settlement  near  Pine  Bluff,  Arkansas;  American  Jewish  Historical 
Society  (AJHS),  letter  3O7b,  Alliance  Israelite  Universelle  to  the  Board  of  Delegates 
of  American  Israelites,  July  12,  1872;  AJHS,  letter  3070,  the  Board  of  Delegates  of 
American  Israelites  to  Rev.  M.  Fluegel,  Pine  Bluff,  Ark.,  August  21,  1872;  AJHS, 
letter  3070;  AJHS,  letter  225,  Simon  Bennann,  New  York,  to  the  Board  of  Delegates 
of  American  Israelites,  May  23, 1860;  Minute  Book  of  the  Executive  Committee  of 
the  Board  of  Delegates  of  American  Israelites,  June  6,  1860;  Proceedings  of  the 
Board  of  Delegates  of  American  Israelites,  1877;  I.  J.  Benjamin,  Drei  Jakre  in 
Amerika,  1^-62  (Hanover,  Germany,  1862),  pp.  234  ff.;  Allgemeine  %eitung  des 
Judentums,  XXXVIII  (1874),  612. 

290 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

DAVID  LUBIN 

There  was  in  the  United  States  a  Jew  who,  though  not  a  farmer, 
contributed  greatly  to  farming  and  agriculture.  David  Lubin 
was  born  in  Poland  in  1849.  He  settled  in  California,  went 
into  the  dry  goods  business,  introduced  the  one-price  system, 
and  became  popular  throughout  the  region  because  of  his 
honesty  and  kindness.  He  became  interested  in  agriculture  as 
the  farmers,  who  were  his  customers,  discussed  their  problems 
with  him.  At  first  he  felt  that  local  groups  of  farmers  should 
unite  for  co-operative  action.  Then  he  realized  the  need  for 
association  on  a  state-wide  basis  and,  finally,  the  necessity  of 
national  and  international  organization.  He  came  to  the  conclu- 
sion that  an  International  Institute  of  Agriculture  was  vital  for 
the  well-being  of  farmers  throughout  the  world. 

Retiring  from  business,  Lubin  devoted  all  his  energies  toward 
fulfilling  such  a  plan.  Unable  to  convince  the  authorities  in 
Washington,  he  went  to  Europe  and  visited  one  capital  after 
another.  Eventually  he  persuaded  Victor  Emmanuel  III,  the 
king  of  Italy,  to  sponsor  the  International  Institute  of  Agricul- 
ture, which  was  first  convoked  in  1905.  The  king  donated  a 
building,  a  permanent  Institute  was  established,  and  David 
Lubin  became  the  United  States  representative,  serving  until 
his  death.  Later  this  Institute  was  merged  with  the  League  of 
Nations,  and  now  is  part  of  the  United  Nations. 8  x 

SUMMARY 

Was  the  Jew  a  follower  or  a  leader  in  business?  Did  he  pioneer 
in  forming  new  economic  patterns,  or  did  he  simply  accept  the 
situations  which  he  found?  The  Jew  did  pioneer  in  the  clothing 

81  George  Cohen,  The  Jews  in  the  Making  of  America  (Boston:  Stratford  Co.,  1924), 
P-  134- 

291 


ALLAN  TARSHISH 

business;  he  developed  it  on  the  basis  of  mass  production,  and 
brought  about  democracy  in  men's  attire.  In  this  field  he  took 
the  lead  in  initiating  the  practice  of  smaller  profits  and  lower 
prices.  He  helped  to  create  the  department  store  as  a  normal 
part  of  the  American  scene. 

During  the  Civil  War,  many  Jewish  bankers  were  able, 
through  their  European  connections,  to  tap  for  the  United 
States  Government  sources  of  funds  not  available  to  others. 
Individual  Jewish  bankers  helped  to  develop  the  railroad 
industry  in  various  parts  of  the  country.  Jewish  businessmen  in 
many  towns  were  leaders  in  the  growth  of  their  communities. 
Joseph  Pulitzer  was  an  outstanding  personality  in  the  newspaper 
field.  As  individuals,  a  number  of  Jews  pioneered  in  many  areas. 

It  must  be  remembered  that  Jews  constituted  a  small  minority 
and  did  not  control  any  field  except  clothing.  As  a  group,  they 
usually  followed  the  patterns  set  before  them,  though  individ- 
ually many  exercised  leadership  and  ingenuity.  Small  Jewish 
bankers  in  the  outposts  took  risks  and  displayed  daring  in  many 
business  operations.  It  can  be  said  generally  that  in  the  fields 
in  which  they  were  interested  they  contributed  much  in  leader- 
ship, courage,  ingenuity,  and  foresight.  Proportionately,  more 
Jews  were  employers  than  other  Americans.  In  the  smaller 
centers,  their  ratio  as  businessmen  was  sometimes  as  high  as 
85  per  cent  or  90  per  cent.  In  the  larger  centers  less  than  one- 
third  of  the  Jews  were  heads  of  businesses,  and  a  little  more 
than  two- thirds  were  employees.82  Since  75  per  cent  of  the 
Jews  lived  in  the  larger  cities,  it  is  obvious  that  the  majority  of 
them  were  employees. 8  3  Many  Jews  became  prosperous  but, 
in  the  main,  they  did  not  approach  the  imperial  wealth  of  the 

Sa  Pilchik,  "Economic  Life,  1875-1880,"  pp.  5-6. 

*s  A  summary  of  the  activities  and  business  interests  of  Jews  in  various  parts  of 
the  country  in  the  period  between  1870  and  1880  is  given  in  Tarshish,  "The  Rise 
of  American  Judaism,"  note  207. 

392 


THE  ECONOMIC  LIFE  OF  THE  AMERICAN  JEW 

Morgans,   Drexels,   Hills,   Rockefellers,   and   the   other  great 
•economic  tycoons  of  this  period. 

It  can  be  said,  in  summation,  that,  though  Jews  figured  in 
most  enterprises  as  individuals,  they  were  chiefly  concentrated 
in  the  mercantile  pursuits,  especially  clothing.  There  were  only 
a  few  Jewish  farmers  and  a  sprinkling  of  professionals.  The  Jew 
tended  to  be  an  independent  merchant.  He  engaged  in  many 
risk  activities.  He  was  helpful,  in  greater  proportion  than  his 
numbers,  in  the  expansion  and  development  of  the  country. 
He  was  not  so  poor  as  the  poorest,  but  not  so  rich  as  the  richest. 
He  bulked  large  in  the  middle  class. 


293 


A  Retrospective  View  of  Isaac  Leaser's 
Biblical  Work 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 


A.  LITTLE  over  a  hundred  years  ago  a  memorable 
event  occurred  in  American  Jewish  history:  the  publication  of 
Isaac  Leeser's  English  translation  of  the  Hebrew  Bible. T  With 
this  translation  Leeser  gave  to  the  American  Jews  what  was  to 
become  perhaps  their  most  important  book  for  two  generations 
of  Jews  fully  or  partially  absorbed  into  American  society  and 
culture.  He  gave  them  the  version  of  the  Bible  which  they  were 
to  use  in  synagogues,  schools,  and  homes  until  1917,  when  it 
was  replaced  by  a  newer  translation  issued  by  the  Jewish 
Publication  Society  of  America. 

The  centennial  of  Leeser's  translation  was  duly  marked  in 
1 953  by  Anita  L.  Lebeson,  *  who  noted  the  laudatory  remarks 
of  such  historians  and  literary  critics  as  Moshe  Davis,  Max  L. 
Margolis  and  Alexander  Marx,  and  Meyer  Waxman.  Yet,  to 
the  knowledge  of  this  writer,  no  detailed  appreciation  of  the 

Dr.  Matitiahu  Tsevat  is  Assistant  Professor  of  Bible  and  Special  Librarian  of  the 
Semitics  Collection  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College  -Jewish  Institute  of  Religion  in 
Cincinnati. 

I  cordially  thank  my  friends  Maxwell  Whiteman  and  Stanley  F.  Chyet  for  their 
manifold  assistance  in  the  preparation  of  this  article. 

1  The  book  was  published  in  December,  1853,  but  was  unavailable  to  the  public 
until  January,  1854. 

3  Congress  Weekly,  XX  (No.  37;  December  28,  1953),  11-13. 

295 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

translation  has  been  attempted.  It  should  be  put  off  no  longer. 
Time  has  granted  our  generation  the  aloofness  from  an  un- 
warranted praise  and  blame  which  cannot  be  expected  from 
the  readers  and  scholars  to  whom  Leeser's  Bible  was  a  steady 
and  personal  experience,3  and  the  prediction,  made  in  1920, 
that  "we  shall  soon  be  thinking  of  putting  Isaac  Leeser's  memory 
in  a  museum  of  Jewish  antiquities  as  a  specimen  of  a  lost  type," 
has  become  true.  The  prognosis  is  the  concluding  sentence  of 
Israel  Abrahams*  fine  essay,  "Leeser's  Bible." 4  Abrahams  con- 
cerned himself  mainly  with  the  English  style  of  the  translation, 
a  style  which  he  deemed  so  poor  that  he  believed  that  this  was 
the  main  reason  why  English  Jews  did  not  accept  Leeser's 
version.5  This  writer  will,  therefore,  pay  no  attention  to  its 
English  garb,  and  will  refer  the  reader  to  the  discussion  by 
Abrahams. 

Leeser's  work  on  the  Bible  was  not  limited  to  the  1853  transla- 
tion. In  1845  he  had  published  an  edition  of  the  Pentateuch  in 
Hebrew  and  English  and,  in  1848,  a  Hebrew  Bible.  The  latter6 


s  The  discussion  on  the  translation  was  opened  by  Isidor  Kalisch  soon  after  its 
publication  (The  Israelite,  I  [1854],  21  f.,  59,  170).  Kalisch  reviewed  Genesis,  the 
beginning  of  Exodus,  and  a  few  verses  from  Isaiah  53.  Some  of  his  strictures  are 
right,  some  wrong,  some  petty,  some  nasty.  A  rejoinder  by  Isaac  Mayer  appeared 
in  The  Occident,  XII  (1854),  358-64,  to  which  the  translator  himself  added  some 
remarks. 

*  Israel  Abrahams,  By-Paths  in  Hebraic  Bookland  (Philadelphia,  1920),  pp.  254-59. 
s  Ibid.,  p.  257. 

6  Rosenbach,  in  Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society  -,  XXX  (1926), 
431,  No.  625,  records  the  edition  as  follows: 


DW33  rmn,  seu  Biblia  Hebraica  secundum  editiones  Jos.  Athiae, 
Joannis  Leusden,  Jo.  Simonis  aliorumque,  mprimis  Everardi  van  der  Hooght, 
D.  Henrici  opitii,  et  Wolfii  Heidenham,  cum  additionibus  clavique  masoretica 
et  rabbinica  Augusti  Hahn.  Nunc  denuo  et  emandata  [emendata?]  ab  Isaaco 
Leeser,  V.D.M.  Synagogae  Mikve  Israel,  Phila.  et  Josepho  Jaquett,  V.D.M. 
Presbyter  Prot.  Epis.  Ecclesiae,  U.S.  Editio  stereotypa.  Novi  Eboraci:  Sump- 
tibus  Joannis  Wiley,  161  Broadway;  et  Londini,  13  Paternoster  Row.  Phila- 
delphia: J.  W.  Moore  typis  L.  Johnson  et  soc.  Phila.  1848. 

296 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESER3S  BIBLICAL  WORK 

is  a  fine  piece  of  printing  as  well  as  a  careful  edition  of  the  text. 
Leeser  gives  due  credit  to  earlier  editions  of  which  he  made  full 
use,  particularly  the  edition  issued  by  August  Hahn,  whose 
three  prefaces  and  lists  he  incorporated  into  his  own  edition. 
Those  lists  include  two  tables  of  the  haftarot  (readings  from  the 
Prophets),  one  in  the  order  of  the  weekly  portions,  the  other  in 
the  order  of  the  biblical  books  from  which  they  are  taken; 
and  an  alphabetical  index  of  the  Hebrew  and  Aramaic  Masoretic 
terms  used  in  the  footnotes,  with  translations,  explanations,  and 
examples.  All  prefatory  matter  and  lists,  with  the  exception  of 
the  first,  are  in  Latin. 

In  his  own  preface,  Leeser  correctly  says  that  this  is  the 
first  vocalized  Bible  printed  in  America.  This  statement  implic- 
itly takes  cognizance  of  the  publication  of  another,  yet  un- 
vocalized  edition  of  the  Bible  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic.  This 
is  the  edition  prepared  anonymously  by  Jonas  (Jonathan) 
Horwitz,  and  published  by  Thomas  Dobson  in  Philadelphia  in 
i8i4.7  Leeser  performed  a  philological  and  practical  service 
when  he  published  a  complete  Masoretic  Bible,  i.  e.,  one  with 
vowel  signs  and  accents.  At  the  same  time,  the  publication  of 
the  vocalized  text  could  be,  and  probably  was  to  be,  understood 
as  a  silent  protest  against  certain  anti-Jewish  prejudices  which 
had  been  voiced  on  the  occasion  of  the  publication  of  the  1814 
Bible  when  the  vowel  points  "were  spoken  of  by  local  the- 
ologians as  a  Jewish  scheme  to  make  the  acquisition  of  Hebrew 
difficult/'8 


Jaquett*s  contribution  consists  of  a  comparison  of  the  collections  of  various  readings 
of  Benjamin  Kennicott  and  Giovanni  Bernardo  de  Rossi  and  also  certain  earlier 
editions. 

»  Edwin  Wolf  2nd  and  Maxwell  Whiteman,  The  History  of  the  Jews  in  Philadelphia 
from  Colonial  Times  to  the  Age  of  Jackson  (Philadelphia,  1957),  pp.  308-11. 

8  The  Quarterly  Theological  Magazine*  III  (1814),  168,  cited  in  Wolf  and  Whiteman, 
p.  310.  This  argument  is  a  latter-day  link  in  the  chain  of  Christian  accusations, 

297 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

Another  passage  in  Leeser's  preface  sheds  some  light  on  his 
philosophy.  After  saying  that  he  was  compelled  to  make  a  very 
limited  selection  among  various  available  readings,  he  gives  the 
principles  of  his  selection:  Manuscriptuum  bonorum  possessio  facile 
hoc  pension  [scil.  seligendi]  fecisset;  sed  his  non  presentibus,  reflectio 
religiose  et  typographiarum  variorum  comparatio  vices  ex  necessitate 
suppeditavissent.9  To  the  modern  reader,  this  statement  of 
principles  comes  as  a  surprise.  Not  only  is  the  reader  unwilling 
a  priori  to  allow  any  religious  considerations  to  influence  the 
reconstruction  of  a  text,  but  he  is  doubtful  as  to  how  considera- 
tions of  this  order  can  solve  strictly  technical  questions,  partic- 
ularly since  the  variants  from  which  the  scholar  has  to  make 
his  selection  concern  only  the  tiniest  minutiae  and  in  no  way 
touch  on  the  contents  of  Scripture,  much  less  on  articles  of 
faith.  Deferring  to  the  end  of  this  article  an  attempt  at  a  fuller 


beginning  with  the  Church  Fathers,  that  the  Jews  manipulated  the  biblical  text 
in  order  to  buttress  their  position  in  Christian-Jewish  theological  disputes.  It  is 
needless  to  stress  that  it  was  not  Horwitz's  intention  to  clear  access  to  the  Hebrew 
Bible  by  removing  vicious  Masoretic  roadblocks.  Rather,  the  reason  is  plainly 
expressed  in  an  announcement  of  the  new  publisher,  Dobson,  who  says  that  "this 
edition  will  be  unencumbered  with  the  Masoretical  points  now  generally  exploded 
by  the  best  scholarship  in  the  Hebrew  language"  (Wolf  and  Whiteman,  p.  310). 
Dobson's  statement  is  quite  unexceptional  if  read  in  the  broader  context  of  certain 
trends  within  eighteenth-  and  early  nineteenth-century  biblical  philology  espe- 
cially in  France  (cf.  the  second  part,  pp.  xix-xxvii,  of  L.  F.  Lalande's  preface  to 
the  fourth  edition  [1781]  of  F.  Masclef,  Grammatica  Hebraica  punctis  massoreticis 
libera)  and  England  (mentioned  in  Wilhelm  Gesenius,  Geschickte  der  hebraischen 
Sprache  und  Sckrift . . .  [1815],  p.  209,  notes).  The  Syriac  Bible  did  not  fare  better. 
When  Samuel  Lee  published  a  new  edition  for  the  British  Bible  Society  in  1823 
(1824),  his  only  "contribution"  to  Syriac  philology  was  the  omission  of  the  vowel 
signs  from  the  text  of  Bryan  Walton's  and  Edmund  Castellus*  polyglot  of  1654- 
1657,  which  he  otherwise  reproduced  faithfully.  At  the  time  it  was  thought  that  by 
omitting  something  one  made  a  contribution. 

»  "Good  manuscripts  would  render  this  task  [of  selecting]  easy;  in  their  absence, 
religious  consideration  [s]  and  comparison  of  various  printed  books  had  alternately 
to  suffice." 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESERJS  BIBLICAL  WORK 

discussion  of  Leaser's  approach,  I  do  nothing  more  than  mention 
these  problems  here. 

It  is  convenient,  in  what  follows,  to  treat  Leeser's  edition  of 
the  Pentateuch  and  his  later  translation  of  the  whole  Bible  as 
one.  In  1845  he  published  the  Pentateuch  in  Hebrew  and 
English  complete  with  hqftarot,**  a  work  of  which  he  says  with 
some  reason:  "I  doubt  whether  the  precious  word  of  God  ever 
appeared  among  us  [Jews]  in  a  more  beautiful  form  than  the 
volumes  ...  of  which  the  present  is  the  first." *  x  This  is,  remark- 
ably enough,  the  only  instance  in  which  he  speaks  of  his  biblical 
work  in  terms  other  than  modesty  and  humility.  The  Pentateuch 
is,  of  course,  not  merely  the  first  and  most  important  part  of 
the  Bible,  but  also  the  center  of  the  Sabbath  and  festival  services, 
and  it  is  for  this  reason  that  Leeser  must  have  been  particularly 
anxious  to  see  a  Hebrew  and  English  edition  of  it  in  the  hands 
of  his  fellow  Jews. 

But  the  Pentateuch  was  only  preparatory  to  his  1853  transla- 
tion of  the  Bible.12  Engaged  in  this  translation  since  1838, 13 
Leeser  thus  realized  "a  desire  [which  he  had]  entertained  for 
more  than  a  quarter  of  a  century." I4  He  incorporated  his  earlier 
pentateuchal  translation  into  his  later  work,  but  revised  it  by 


n»:n  K'D^HK^B  HB  .iry^»  f|  h'\  m«  p  pnr  japn  vmo  rmn  .D»nVa  mm 
TWO  lA  mx  n-iifi  nwa  T-TDDTT  nixaa  JDIP  i:up  TMI  hv.  The  Law  of  God.  Edited, 
with  Former  Translations  Diligently  Compared  and  Revised,  by  Isaac  Leeser  (Philadelphia: 
G.  Sherman,  5605  [1844-1845]). 

1  x  Preface,  p.  vii.  Fifteenth-  and  sixteenth-century  editions,  which  many  would 
indeed  find  more  beautiful,  were  probably  unknown  to  Leeser. 

1  a  D'airwi  0  W33  mm  The  Twenty-Four  Books  of  the  Holy  Scriptures:  Carefully  Translated 
According  to  the  Massoretic  Text,  on  the  Basis  of  the  English  Version,  after  the  Best  Jewish 
Authorities;  and  Supplied  with  Short  Explanatory  Notes  (Philadelphia,  5614  [1853-1854]). 

**  Pentateuch,  Preface,  p.  5;  Bible,  Preface,  at  the  end. 
x<  Bible,  Preface,  at  the  beginning. 


299 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

carefully  changing  the  wording  on  almost  every  page z  s  and  by 
providing  it  with  notes  that  were  more  copious. x  6 

In  his  prefaces  to  the  translations,  Leeser  explained  his 
purpose:  to  present  them  "to  the  Jewish  public,"17  "to  his 
fellow-Israelites."18  Their  usefulness  to  the  Gentiles,  Leeser 
proposed,  lay  in  the  fact  that  they  embodied  the  Jewish  under- 
standing of  the  Bible  as  enshrined  in  an  age-old  tradition.1* 
This  Jewish  understanding  was  not,  however,  to  be  regarded  on 
the  same  plane  with  other  understandings.  It  was,  Leeser 
declared,  the  true  understanding  because  it  comes  closest  to  the 

1  s  As  an  example  of  relatively  far-reaching  changes,  we  give  in  juxtaposition  three 
verses  from  Genesis  49,  a  chapter  which  hardly  anyone  will  ever  translate  to  his 
own  satisfaction.  In  the  case  of  passages  of  lesser  difficulty,  Leeser  naturally  had 
less  occasion  to  make  changes. 

Pentateuch  Bible 

4  Unstable  as  water,  thou  shalt  not  Unstable  as  water,  thou  shalt  not  have 

excel . .  .  then  defiledst  thou  my  couch,  the  excellence  . . .  then  defiledst  thou 

which  I  was  wont  to  ascend.  the  one  who  ascended  my  couch. 

'  A  lion's  whelp  thou  art,  Judah,  when  Like  a  lion's  whelp,  O  Judah,  from  the 
from  the  prey,  my  son,  thou  risest. . .  prey,  my  son,  thou  risest. .  . 

x*  Zebulun  shall  dwell  at  the  haven  of  Zebulun  shall  dwell  at  the  margin  of 

the  sea;  and  he  shall  be  at  the  haven  of  the  seas;  and  he  shall  be  at  the  haven 

ships;  and  his  border  shall  be  unto  of  ships;  and  his  border  shall  be  near 

Zidon.  Zidon. 

With  respect  to  verse  13  in  the  translation  of  1853,  Leeser  was  concerned  with 
English  style  and  translated  the  same  Hebrew  word  (*]in)  by  two  English  words 
("margin"  and  "haven").  Thus  he  surrendered  his  faithful  adherence  to  the 
Hebrew  diction  which  is  found  in  the  translation  of  1845,  and  which  is  a  paramount 
principle  in  the  translation  of  the  Bible.  Gf.  Franz  Rosenzweig,  "Die  Schrift  und 
Luther,"  in  Martin  Buber  und  Franz  Rosenzweig,  Die  Schrift  und  ikre  Verdeiitsckung 
(1936),  pp.  n6f. 

1  *  About  a  sixth  of  the  book  (Preface,  at  the  end).  In  the  preface  to  the  Pentateuch, 
p.  x,  he  regrets  that  he  could  not  provide  more  notes  to  that  work. 

1 7  Pentateuch,  Preface,  at  the  beginning. 

18  Bible,  Preface,  at  the  beginning. 
*9  Ibid.,  p.  iv,  at  the  top. 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESERJS  BIBLICAL  WORK 

intentions  of  the  biblical  authors.  To  show  this,  one  had  only  to 
render  a  faithful  translation  into  a  modern  language.  Leeser, 
therefore,  "endeavored  to  make  [the  translation]  as  literal  as 
possible."20  He  had  "translated  the  text  before  him  without 
regard  to  the  result  thence  arising  for  his  creed/321  and  had 
"discarded  every  preconceived  opinion."22  "But,"  he  goes  on, 
"no  perversion  or  forced  rendering  of  any  text  was  needed  to 
bear  out  his  opinions  or  those  of  Israelites  in  general."  Judaism 
did  not  require  "the  distortion  of  the  sacred  text." 2  3  If  it  had, 
Leeser  asserted,  he  would  still  not  have  deviated  from  rendering 
the  text  verbally.24 

One  need  not  be  a  student  of  the  Bible  or  of  Jewish  tradition 
and  history  to  realize  that  Leeser  wanted  the  impossible. 
Centuries  of  growth  and  development  left  their  indelible  impres- 
sions on  the  Bible.  The  even  greater  changes  of  post-biblical 
times  have  continuously  remolded  Judaism,  and  with  it  its 
ideal  foundation:  its  continuous  interpretation  of  the  Bible. 
The  established,  hence  static,  biblical  text  and  its  dynamic 
reinterpretation  thus  became  two  entities.  Objectively,  each  was 
autonomous  and  self-contained,  the  common  element  being  the 
identity  of  written  matter  —  a  chapter,  a  word,  a  letter  — 
there  text,  here  proof  text.  Subjectively,  they  were  —  and 
are  —  a  unity  wherever  it  has  been  felt  that  the  permanence 
and  identity  of  Judaism  are  preserved  despite  the  changes  and 
vicissitudes  of  Jewish  history.  Yet  the  subjective  cannot  be  made 
objective.  A  translator  of  the  Bible  who  makes  a  forced  attempt 
to  objectify  the  subjective  brushes  aside  the  essence  either  of 

ao  Pentateuch,  Preface,  p.  vii, 

ai  Bible,  p.  iii,  at  the  bottom. 

« Ibid. 

a3  Pentateuch,  ibid. 

*<  Ibid. 

SOI 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

Jewish  tradition  or  of  philology  whenever  the  two  entities 
conflict.  As  translator  and  annotator,  Leeser  did  the  latter. 

With  these  remarks  we  have  indicated  in  which  aspect  of 
Leeser's  translation  we  are  interested:  his  attempt  to  carry  out 
the  program  which  he  laid  down  in  his  prefaces.  Other  aspects 
are  of  little  concern.  It  would  be  neither  fair  nor  intelligent  to 
select  knotty  verses  and  then  draw  up  a  questionnaire  and 
present  it  to  the  examinee,  Isaac  Leeser.  Not  only  has  biblical 
science  progressed  during  the  last  hundred  years;  its  methods 
and  results  are  better  known  to,  and  more  readily  accepted  by, 
the  educated  public  today  than  they  were  in  the  middle  of  the 
nineteenth  century.  Throughout  the  millennia,  moreover,  prom- 
inent versions  of  the  Bible  have  often  been  distinguished  or 
properly  appraised  not  by  the  linguistic  accuracy  with  which 
they  rendered  difficult  passages,  but  by  their  achievement  of  a 
specific  synthesis  between  the  ancient  book  and  the  genius  of 
their  times. 

As  to  Leeser,  the  translator,  his  Hebrew  knowledge  cannot  be 
questioned  too  seriously,  despite  some  contemporary  attacks. 2  s 
Although  he  modestly  disclaimed  advanced  Hebrew  learning, 
he  was  sufficiently  equipped  linguistically  to  handle  his  task. 2  6 
Translations  and  commentaries  were  at  his  disposal,  and  he 
fully  acknowledged  his  indebtedness  to  them,  specifically  to  the 
King  James  Version,  to  the  German  Jewish  translations  from 
Moses  Mendelssohn  to  Ludwig  Philippson  and  Leopold  Zunz, 2  7 
and  to  the  medieval  Jewish  commentators. 

a«  See  note  3,  above, 

36  Harry  M.  Orlinsky  says  with  even  greater  affirmation:  "...  the  scholarship 
[of  Leeser's  translation]  in  general  was  on  a  consistently  high  level"  (Jewish  Quarterly 
Review,  New  Series,  XLV  [1954-1955],  380). 

3 1 1n  several  hundred  notes,  found  in  the  margins  of  most  pages,  as  well  as  in  the 
preface  (p.  iii),  explicit  credit  is  given  to  Philippson.  If  any  adverse  criticism  be 
called  for,  it  would  rather  be  the  reverse,  viz.,  that  Leeser  referred  to  Philippson 

302 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAG  LEESER*S  BIBLICAL  WORK 

The  course  of  our  study  is  thus  further  charted:  we  will,  as  a 
rule,  compare  his  translation  and  notes  with  his  immediate 
sources.  To  trace  the  more  remote  sources  is  beyond  the  scope 
of  an  investigation  which  is  not  concerned  with  the  history  of 
biblical  interpretation,  e.  g.,  the  talmudic  origin  and  the 
subsequent  transformation  of  expositions  and  concepts  em- 
bodied in  medieval  comments  which  Leeser  quotes.  Zunz's 
translation  is  cited  by  the  name  of  its  editor,  Zunz,  and  not  by 
the  names  of  the  translators  of  the  several  books.  Nor  are  the 
individual  contributors  to  the  Biur**  recognized  here.  For 
comparison  with  Philippson's  translation  only  the  revised  edition 
of  1865  could  be  used.29  We  now  proceed  to  discuss  Leeser's 
rendering  of  selected  passages. 

Exodus  21:6,  at  the  end.  The  Authorized  (or  King  James) 
Version  and  Zunz:  ".  . .  and  he  [i.  e.,  the  servant]  shall  serve 
him  forever."  Leeser5  s  1853  biblical  translation:  ".  .  .  and  he 
shall  serve  him  till  the  jubilee/5  with  the  note:  "Lit.  efor  ever3; 
but  servitude  is  hereafter  (Leviticus  25:10)  limited  to  the 

jubilee **  In  his  1845  pentateuchal  translation,  Leeser  thought 

that  this  note,  which  follows  the  traditional  explanation,  was 
dispensable,  and  thus  he  left  the  reader  with  the  impression 
that  DVttrt>  means  "till  the  jubilee." 


and  Zunz  more  than  was  necessary  in  an  edition  for  popular  and  liturgical  use. 
After  all,  the  translation  and  interpretation  of  the*  greatest  part  of  the  Bible  are 
common  property,  or  at  least  shared  by  several  scholars.  Yet  Isaac  M.  Wise  wrote 
in  his  obituary  of  Leeser  that  he  had  to  convince  Leeser,  when  the  latter  was  prepar- 
ing his  translation,  to  use  Philippson's  work,  since  Leeser  had  at  first  been  unwilling 
to  consult  a  "reformer."  Wise  continues:  "With  admirable  skill,  he  used 
Phplippson,  subsequent  to  the  conversation]  without  betraying  with  one  word 
that  this  was  his  main  authority,  in  the  notes  especially"  (The  Israelite^  XIV  [No. 
32;  February  14,  1868]). 

a8  Prague,  1833-1837. 

*»  Since  deviations  from  Philippson's  earlier  translation  are  indicated  in  the 
footnotes  of  the  later  edition,  the  earlier  text  can  be  reconstructed  with  fair  certainty. 

303 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

Ezekiel  20:25  f.  reads  in  the  Authorized  Version: 

[25]  Wherefore30  I  gave  them  also  statutes  that  were  not  good  and 
judgments  whereby  they  should31  not  live;  [26]  and  I  polluted  them 
in  their  own  gifts,  in  that  they  caused  to  pass  through  (the  fire) 3  2  all 
that  openeth  the  womb.  .  .  . 

This  translation  reproduces  in  the  main  what  is  written  in  the 
original  Hebrew  text.33  The  idea  that  God  deliberately  gave 
Israel  bad  and  harmful  laws  has  baffled  readers  and  com- 
mentators throughout  the  ages.  Leeser  surmounts  the  obstacle 
by  expurgating  the  text  in  his  translation: 

[25]  And  also  I  let  them  follow  statutes  that  were  not  good.  .  .  .  [26] 
And  I  let  them  be  defiled  through  their  gifts,  in  that  they  caused  to 
pass  (through  the  fire)  all  that  openeth  the  womb.  . . . 

The  towering  conception  of  God's  plans  for  man  leading  Him 
to  pervert  His  Law,  as  once  He  had  perverted  His  prophecy 
(I  Kings  22:21  f.),  is  reduced  to  a  pedestrian  restatement  of 
man's  free  choice.  The  translation  is  then  amplified  by  the  note: 

Rashi,  after  Jonathan;  meaning,  as  they  had  wilfully  rebelled,  God 
permitted  them  to  follow  their  evil  inclinations,  till  the  measure  of 
their  sin  was  completed,  and  their  destruction  followed,  as  told  in 
our  history.  Zunz  and  Philippson  take  it  in  the  light  that  to  the  sinners 
the  law  is  a  means  of  punishment,  as  its  transgression  brings  painful 
consequences  [this  is  not  their  understanding,  as  the  subsequent  quota- 
tion clearly  shows] ;  wherefore  [?]  the  translation  of  Dr.  P.  is  as  follows: 
"And  I  also  gave  them  laws  which  were  injurious  (to  them),  and 
ordinances  through  which  they  did  not  live;  and  I  made  them  unclean 
through  their  gifts,  when  they  set  apart  all  that  opened  the  womb," 
and  so  forth:  talcing  Taym  "as  setting  aside,"  not  "as  causing  to  pass 
(through  the  fire),"  as  given  by  Rashi. 

3°  The  Revised  Standard  Version  [RSV]  correctly  reads  "moreover3'  instead,  and 
deletes  the  following  "also.** 

3 '  RSV  better:  "could." 

* 3  RSV  preferably:  "in  making  them  offer  by  fire." 

«  The  improvements  of  the  RSV  bring  out  the  meaning  more  clearly,  but  it  is 
all  there  in  the  Authorized  Version,  also. 

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A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESERJS  BIBLICAL  WORK 

He  then  concludes  the  note  with  a  somersault:  "But  both 
constructions,  though  apparently  so  different,  have  at  last  the 
same  bearing,  since  to  the  pious  the  law  of  God  brings  happiness 
and  life,  not  evil  and  death." 

Ecclesiastes  3:21.  "Who  knows  whether  the  spirit  of  man 
goes  upward  and  the  spirit  of  the  beast  goes  down  to  the  nether- 
world." This  translation  of  "the  moderns,"  including  Zunz, 34 
is  explicitly  rejected  by  Leeser  in  a  note  in  favor  of  the  following 
("after  the  Massorah"):  "Who  knoweth  the  spirit  of  the  sons 
of  man  that  ascendeth  upward,  and  the  spirit  of  the  beast  that 
descendeth  downward  to  the  earth?"  It  is  indeed  possible,  but 
by  no  means  certain,  that  such  is  the  intention  of  the  Masoretic 
vocalization. 3  s  In  any  event,  the  doctrine  of  immortality  is  only 

s  4  Philippson  similarly,  though  less  accurately. 

s  s  it  is  possible,  for  the  pointings  n^j70  and  nil* ft  are  the  regular  vocalizations 
of  the  article,  serving  here  as  a  relative  pronoun.  This  explanation  is  supported 
by  some  midrashic  explanations;  particularly  telling  is  the  faulty  quotation  of 
the  biblical  passage  hi  Tanhuma  (Buber),  Berakah,  p.  56:  mirn  »'rr  norurr  nm, 
Y~\vb  n»o!?  [instead  of  the  actual:  N»n  mTn],  "and  it  is  the  spirit  of  the  beast  that 
goes  down  to  the  netherworld,"  which  goes  a  long  way  towards  eliminating  an  em- 
barrassing biblical  statement  which  questions  the  doctrine  of  the  hereafter.  On  the 
other  hand,  it  is  not  certain  that  such  was  the  intention  of  the  Masoretes.  n^J/tf 
and  n-j^n  may  simply  be  less  common  forms  of  the  interrogative  n;  cf.  a  number 
of  examples  listed  by  Alexander  Sperber  in  Journal  of  Biblical  Literature,  LXII 
(1943),  228-30.  Nor  does  this  alternative  lack  midrashic  attestation:  nioV  Tny  'a» 
H»n  rrtnyn  DTK  »n  nn  jnv  ^D  "ID«W  pD  p«V  DN  D'apV  DM  rpVirr  WBI  p*n!?  VTT  »r«i 
'in  rbyv1?,  "I  [Moses]  am  going  to  die  not  knowing  where  my  soul  will  go,  to  the 
heaven  or  to  the  netherworld,  as  it  is  said:  *Who  knows  whether  the  spirit  of  man 
goes  upward,  etc.'  "  (Debarim  Rabba,  Ha'azinu,  at  the  end). 

Incidentally,  Leeser  sometimes  uses  the  term  "Massorah"  hi  a  loose  sense.  In  a 
note  to  the  end  of  Exodus  7:25  he  says:  "The  English  version  ends  here  the  seventh 
chapter,  but  the  Massoretic  text  commences  chap,  viii  only  with  the  fifth  verse 
of  the  common  version."  It  would  have  come  as  a  slight  shock,  had  he  been  told 
that  the  Jews  had  adopted  for  the  Hebrew  Bible  the  chapter  division  of  the  Vulgate 
in  order  to  facilitate  reference  to  biblical  passages  in  Christian-Jewish  disputations, 
since  the  Christians  were  wont  to  quote  by  chapters.  The  division  of  the  Vulgate 
into  chapters  was  made,  in  all  probability,  by  Stephen  Langton,  Archbishop  of 
Canterbury,  hi  the  early  thirteenth  century.  For  the  whole  question,  see  Shmuel 
Hakohen  Weingarten's  recent  article,  "o»pns!?  minn  npiVn",  iSftuzz,  XLII  (1957- 

305 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

imperfectly  salvaged,  for  Leeser  translated  verse  19:  ".  . 
[man  and  beast]  have  all  one  kind  of  spirit;  so  that  the  pre- 
eminence of  man  above  the  beast  is  nought."  But  the  rules  of 
Hebrew  grammar  —  of  any  grammar  —  are  violated,  for  the 
two  nominative  pronouns  —  K^n  —  in  their  function  as  subjects 
of  the  simple  clauses,  do  not  admit  other  subjects  —  Leeser's 
5  and  -H  —  in  the  same  clauses. 

I  Samuel  3:3.  Leeser's  translation:  ".  .  .  while  Samuel  was 
lying  down  in  (the  hall  of)  the  temple  of  the  Lord,  where  the 
ark  of  God  was."  The  words  in  parentheses  are  not  in  the  text; 
Zunz  and  Philippson  do  not  supply  them.  Leeser  inserts  them, 
with  no  note  of  justification,  in  order  to  comply  with  the  Jewish 
tradition,36  to  which  the  Authorized  Version  accedes,  that  it  is 
disrespectful  to  lie  down  in  the  temple  proper. 

Ezekiel  44:2S>b.  "They  [the  priests]  shall  not  marry  a 
widow  .  . .  but  a  widow  who  is  the  widow  of  a  priest  they  may 
marry/5  This  is  the  translation  by  the  Biur,  Zunz,  and  Philippson. 
Leeser  mentions  it  in  a  note,  but  rejects  it  in  favor  of  the  fol- 
lowing: "And  a  widow  . .  .  shall  they  not  take  to  themselves  as 
wives  . .  .  but  whatever  widow  it  may  be,  the  (common)  priests 
may  take."  It  does  not  trouble  him  that  his  version  lacks  any 
textual  support.  He  is  anxious  only  to  harmonize  Ezekiel  with 
Leviticus  21:7,  i3f.,  which  forbids  the  marriage  of  a  widow 
to  a  high  priest  alone  and  thus  permits  ordinary  priests  to  marry 
any  widow.  But  while  he  eliminates  one  conflict  with  faraway 
Leviticus,  he  creates  another  with  the  protasis  of  the  very  verse 
which  he  is  translating:  "and  a  widow  . .  .  shall  they  not  take," 
which  refers  to  all  priests,  for  the  antecedent  of  "they"  is  "anyone 


1958),  281-93.  In  the  division  of  the  seventh  and  eighth  chapters  of  Exodus,  the 
Authorized  Version  follows  not  the  Vulgate,  but  the  Masoretic,  i.  e.,  the  received 
Jewish,  tradition  (petufiak,  after  verse  25  and  no  paragraph  after  verse  29). 

*d  Babylonian  Kiddushin  7$b. 
306 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESER5S  BIBLICAL  WORK 

of  the  priests'5  (verse  21).  With  this  "translation55  Leeser  follows 
the  traditional  explanation  to  the  point  of  rejecting  the  first  of 
two  interpretations  by  David  Kimchi  (1160-1235),  an  inter- 
pretation which  preserves  biblical  harmony  without  violating 
the  Hebrew  language.  In  these  chapters  of  Ezekiel  envisaging 
the  coming  aeon,  the  prophet,  according  to  Kimchi,  sets  higher 
standards  of  holiness  than  Moses  did  in  the  Pentateuch,  whose 
laws  apply  to  the  present  age;  accordingly,  the  marriage  of  a 
widow  will  be  forbidden  to  all  priests,  not  only  to  the  high 
priest.  In  this  manner,  Kimchi  explains  other  troublesome 
passages  in  these  paragraphs,  but  for  Leeser  these  explanations 
apparently  are  not  orthodox  enough. 

Ezekiel  44:26.  The  Hebrew  text  says:  "After  he  [a  priest  who 
defiled  himself  for  a  deceased  relative]  is  cleansed,  one  shall 
count  for  him  seven  days"  before  he  may  enter  the  sanctuary. 
Again  Leeser's  rendering  is  forced:  he  takes  the  apodosis 
("one  .  .  .  days")  out  of  the  sentence  by  putting  it  within 
dashes,  and  makes  verse  27  the  apodosis  instead.  In  so  doing, 
Leeser  follows  Zunz  and  Philippson,  but  not  the  Biur,  in  order 
to  avert  a  possible  difference  with  Numbers  19:1 1,  which  knows 
nothing  of  an  additional  seven  days  of  waiting.  Kimchi  gives 
two  explanations,  just  as  he  does  for  44:22,  but  Leeser  takes  no 
notice  of  them. 

At  times  Leeser  translates  correctly  and  then  gives  his  opinion 
of  the  passage  in  a  note.  In  such  cases,  the  note  has  not  the 
function  of  clarifying  an  opaque  sentence,  but  rather  of  telling 
the  reader  that  the  meaning  is  not  what  he  might  gather  from 
the  plain  English  of  the  translation. 

Jeremiah  7:22  f.  Leeser,  like  Zunz  and  Philippson: 

[22]  For  I  spoke  not  with  your  fathers,  and  I  commanded  them  not 
on  the  day  of  my  bringing  them  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  concerning 
burnt-offering  or  sacrifice;  [23]  But  this  thing  did  I  command  them, 
saying,  Hearken  to  my  voice.  .  . . 

307 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

As  this  word  of  Jeremiah  contradicts  the  whole  sacrificial 
legislation  of  the  Pentateuch,  Leeser  cushions  it  with  the  fol- 
lowing footnote  which  he  has  translated  from  Rashi:  "The  first 
condition  was  only,  clf  you  will  hearken  to  my  voice  and  keep 
my  covenant,  then  shall  you  be  to  me  a  peculiar  treasure* 
(Exodus  19:5)."  Leeser  neglects,  however,  to  furnish  the  preced- 
ing verse  (Jeremiah  7:21),  unintelligible  to  the  lay  reader  though 
it  is,  with  some  short  comment  which  would  render  it 
meaningful.37 

Psalm  78:39.  "And  he  [God]  remembered  that  they  [the 
Israelites]  are  but  flesh;  a  spirit  that  passeth  away,  and  returneth 
not  again."  To  this  translation  Leeser  adds  the  note:  "When 
death  takes  place,  the  spirit  leaves  the  body  and  returns  not  to 
it  in  the  course  of  nature;  and  death  would  be  final  unless  the 
Creator  himself  gave  new  life."  This  is  clearly  the  very  opposite 
of  what  the  text  and  its  context  say,  but  the  plain  meaning  of 
the  text  cannot  be  accepted,  OTnan  n"nra  mw  p  man  OKEM* 
(Rashi,  ad  locum}. 

Ecclesiastes  11:9.  "Rejoice,  O  young  man,  in  thy  child- 
hood .  .  .  and  walk  firmly  in  the  ways  of  thy  heart,  and  in  (the 
direction  which)  thy  eyes  see;  but  know  thou  that  concerning  all 
these  things  God  will  bring  thee  into  judgment."  This  translation 
is  supplemented  by  the  footnote:  "Both  Rashi  and  Aben  Ezra 
interpret  this  verse  in  this  way:  'See  what  the  end  will  be,  if 
thou  follow  the  inclination  of  the  heart;  since  punishment  will 
thence  result.5  "  Not  content  with  this  usable  and  dogmatically 
unassailable  comment,  Leeser  goes  on:  "Otherwise  it  may  mean, 
that  man  should  well  take  heed  to  regulate  his  conduct  by  the 
divine  will,  and  not  follow  blindly  his  heart  and  eyes  (Numbers 

*  7  E.  g,,  Mct&dat  David,  ad  locum. 

*8  "Because  if  you  do  so  [i.  e.,  explain  the  passage  literally]  you  deny  the  resur- 
rection of  the  dead," 

308 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESER*S  BIBLICAL  WORK 

15:39);  as  otherwise  he  will  meet  the  punishment  due  to  trans- 
gression." Basically  this  is  the  same  as  the  previous  explanation 
by  Rashi  and  Ibn  Ezra  —  an  explanation  based  in  turn  on  the 
Midrash;  the  words,  "otherwise  it  may  mean/'  are,  therefore, 
ill-chosen.  And  yet,  there  is  a  difference.  The  older  commentators 
kept  the  idea  of  the  verse  veiled  in  the  warning:  "If  you  do  this, 
then.  .  .,  therefore  remember  what  is  good  for  you."  This 
admonition  is  now  crudely  dragged  into  the  open,  lest  anybody 
be  scandalized  by  the  clash  with  the  verse  from  Numbers:  "Do 
not  follow  after  your  own  heart  and  after  your  own  eyes  which 
you  are  inclined  to  go  after  a  whoring."  The  overcautious 
Leeser  did  not  acquiesce  in  the  Midrash's  removal  of  the 
skandalon  as  long  ago  as  1,500  years.39 

Of  the  ancient  versions,  the  Targum,  which  is  in  fact  as  much 
a  commentary  as  it  is  a  translation  (into  Aramaic),  is  referred 
to  frequently.  References  to  the  Septuagint  are,  however,  rare. 
For  his  translation  of  Exodus  24:10,  "...  and  the  place  under 
his  feet  .  .  .,"  Leeser  adduces  Zunz  and  the  Septuagint,  which 
he  cites  in  Greek.  The  last  word  of  Ecclesiastes  2:25,  ^&&, 
Leeser  translates,  according  to  the  Hebrew  text,  as  "more  than 
I,"  but  he  mentions  in  a  note  an  alternative  translation,  "from 
him,"  i.  e.,  from  God,  which  is  based  on  the  Septuagint,  whose 
Vorlage  he  correctly  gives  as  "tt&&."  It  is  possible  that  he  got 
this  from  Philippson,  who  refers  to  Georg  Heinrich  August 
Ewald.  To  Philippson,  "after  the  Septuagint,"  he  gives  credit 
for  the  alternative  translation  of  0^2  WVX,  "cakes  of  raisins" 
(Hosea  3:1,  note).  4°  The  Targum  is  also  quoted  as  an  authority 

3  s  Shemucl  bar  Yitzhak,  quoted  in  several  Midrashun.  For  the  authenticity  of  the 
saying,  see  Solomon  Buber,  Pestfda  de  Rob  Kakana,  leaf  68b,  n.  5. 

*°  Preferable  to  "flagons  of  wine"  of  the  body  of  the  translation.  Leeser  could  have 
avoided  getting  the  proof  of  the  correct  translation  from  the  Greek  version  by 
referring  to  mishnaic  Hebrew  n»'»«,  "anything  made  compact  and  substantial  by 
pressing,  cake"  (Jastrow,  s.  ».). 

309 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 


for  an  emendation  of  a  word  in  Psalm  54:5.  The  translation 
"strangers'3  renders  the  text  ant;  a  note  says:  "[Targum] 
Jonathan  reads  O^IT,  cthe  presumptuous.5  " 

To  the  uncritical  reader  of  the  foregoing  analysis,  Leeser's 
translation  may  appear  in  quite  an  unfavorable  light.  The 
reader  may  get  the  impression  that  there  is  a  man  who  plays 
fast  and  loose  with  a  text,  a  man  who  —  although  expected  to 
transmit  the  exact  meaning  of  this  text  to  a  public  which,  for 
the  most  part,  is  not  in  a  position  to  check  the  accuracy  of  the 
transmission  —  fails  not  infrequently  to  adhere  to  such  standards 
of  accuracy  as  today  are  synonymous  with  decency  and  truth- 
fulness. This  impression  is  strengthened  when  the  analysis  is 
read  against  the  background  of  Leeser's  own  programmatic 
statements,  quoted  above  from  his  prefaces,  that  he  translated 
"as  literalfly]  as  possible,"  that  he  undertook  this  work  "without 
regard  to  the  result  thence  arising  for  his  creed,"  and  that  he 
abhorred  "perversion  or  forced  rendering  of  any  text"  as 
neither  admissible  nor  necessary.  For  the  analysis  has  shown, 
among  other  things,  that  the  meanings  of  common  vocables 
which  were  accepted  and  made  good  sense  hundreds  of  times, 
or  simple  grammatical  rules  which  were  constituent  to  tens  of 
thousands  of  sentences,  are  dispensed  with  in  precisely  those 
cases  where  the  translator's  "creed"  is  at  stake. 

Now  the  objections  of  "the  uncritical  reader  of  the  foregoing 
analysis,"  whom  we  have  introduced  in  the  preceding  paragraph, 
can  be  disposed  of  quickly  and  easily.  He  is  guilty  of  exactly 
that  for  which  he  blames  Leeser:  lack  of  historical  understanding. 
The  history  of  institutional  religion  and  of  the  canons  of  religious 
literature  is  the  history  of  attempted  harmonizations.  The 
beginning  of  periods  of  rationalism  and  enlightenment  and 
times  of  religious  reorganization  often  are  not  marked  by  any 
relaxation  of  these  attempts,  but,  on  the  contrary,  by  invigorated 
harmonizing:  man  is  endowed  with  reason  and  he  is  duty-bound 
310 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESER'S  BIBLICAL  WORK 

to  use  it  for  higher  purposes.  Leeser  stood  at  such  a  point  in 
the  history  of  the  Jews  in  America.  His  was  a  twofold  credo: 
traditionalism  and  rationalism.  His  translation  mirrors  these 
principles  in  a  peculiar  mutual  relation.  They  are  not  engaged 
in  a  dualistic  conflict;  they  dwell  together  in  monistic  harmony. 
Leeser,  lacking  an  understanding  of  their  heterogeneous  char- 
acter and  of  the  essential  difference  between  the  corresponding 
activities  of  the  mind  and  lacking  also  a  grasp  of  historic  cat- 
egories, truly  believed  in  this  harmony.  This  belief  shaped  his 
translation.  It  made  his  entire  biblical  work  a  clear  case  of 
grammatica  ancilla  theologiae,  not  in  the  Kantian  sense41  that 
linguistics  is  the  handmaid  bearing  the  torch  before  theology, 
but  in  the  scholastic  sense  that  it  is  the  handmaid  bearing  the 
train  behind  the  mistress.42  But  if  traditionalism  diminished 
Leeser' s  grasp  of  modern  logical  cognition,  rationalism  precluded 
his  acceptance  of  the  eminently  historical  insight  of  the  second- 
century  rabbi  into  the  relationship  of  Jewish  tradition  to  the 
Bible:  nna  m  nn  irmsD  poa  ovinan  WIK  mirr  "V*  (Tosefta 
Megillah  at  the  end;  Babylonian  Kiddushin  4ga).  Rather  than 
follow  such  a  precept,  Leeser  would  probably  have  preferred  to 
abstain  from  translating.  Nor  did  his  confident  rationalism 
agree  with  another  talmudic  approach:  when  several  rabbis  ol 
the  second  and  third  centuries  were  confronted  with  contradic- 
tions between  certain  passages  in  Ezekiel  44  f.  and  related 
pentateuchal  material,  similar  to  that  mentioned  above,44  they 
said  of  the  Ezekiel  passages:  JWTrV  T»fiSJ  W^K  IT  JTCnfc4* 

4*  Streit  der  Fakultaten,  I.  Abschnitt,  I,  2. 

4'  The  belief  that  religious  consideration  helps  in  selecting  the  best  textual  variant 
(see  above,  p.  298)  may  also  be  related  to  this  principle. 

43  "Rabbi  Jehuda  says:  He  who  translates  a  biblical  verse  literally  is  a  liar.'* 

44  Pp.  306-7. 

45  "[The  prophet]  Elijah  will  explain  this  paragraph." 


MATITIAHU  TSEVAT 

(Babylonian  Menahot  45a).  Leeser  was  not  willing  to  wait  for 
the  prophet,  although  he  might  well  have  left  those  verses 
unexplained  in  an  edition  in  which  explanatory  notes  are 
sprinkled  sparingly  and  almost  at  random. 

These  considerations  will  help  us  to  gain  a  just  appreciation 
of  Leeser  in  his  role  as  translator  of  the  Bible.  In  the  absence  of 
criticism  and  of  historical  understanding,  conceptions  altogether 
alien  to  the  original  are  bound  to  creep  into  translation  and 
commentary.  But  lack  of  criticism  and  of  historical  under- 
standing does  not  constitute  dishonesty.  Leeser's  translation 
betrays  his  uprightness  and  sincerity  throughout.  It  cannot  be 
emphasized  too  strongly  that  his  personal  integrity  is  beyond 
doubt. 

Leeser  published  all  three  editions  of  the  Bible  in  less  than 
nine  years,  between  1845  (^  translation  of  the  Pentateuch) 
and  1853-1854  (his  translation  of  the  entire  Hebrew  Bible). 
With  the  exception  of  the  comparatively  minor  assistance  of 
Joseph  Jaquett/6  he  accomplished  his  task  singlehandedly. 
Even  the  technical  achievement  was  no  mean  feat.  In  the 
preparation  of  the  manuscript,  the  supervision  of  the  printing, 
and  the  process  of  proofreading  Leeser  employed  no  assistance, 
and  "Jewish  [which  apparently  means  adequate]  compositors" 
were  not  available.47  Yet  Leeser  could  use  only  a  fraction  of 
his  time  for  translating,  editing,  and  printing  these  works;  his 
other  literary,  publishing,  organizational,  political,  congrega- 
tional, and  educational  activities  claimed  the  best  of  him.  His 
work  on  the  Bible  was  only  one  aspect  of  his  large  scheme  of 
strengthening  and  bettering  Judaism  and  the  Jews  in  America. 
Seen  as  a  phase  in  his  master  plan,  rather  than  as  a  work  of 
philology,  his  biblical  work  cannot  but  elicit  our  greatest  respect. 

4  6  See  note  6,  above. 
47  Pentateuch,  Preface,  p.  vL 
312 


A  RETROSPECTIVE  VIEW  OF  ISAAC  LEESER5S  BIBLICAL  WORK 

Though,  as  a  scientific  work,  Leaser's  translation  is  antiquated 
today,  as  it  was  even  at  the  time  of  its  publication,  its  significance 
as  a  historical  and  human  document  can  be  better  appreciated 
now  than  it  was  a  century  ago.  Time  has  not  lessened  that 
historical  and  human  significance. 


David  Einhorn: 

Some  Aspects  of  His  Thinking 


BERNHARD  N.  COHN 


JVLucH  has  been  said  about  David  Einhorn.  Not 
enough  has  been  written,  however,  to  appraise  his  genius  or  to 
study  his  influence  on  American  Reform.  This  paper  attempts 
to  bring  additional  historical  light  to  bear  upon  Einhorn's 
thinking  through  a  closer  analysis  of  one  of  his  most  important 
literary  and  intellectual  legacies:  his  monthly  German-language 
journal,  Sinai  —  A  Voice  for  the  Understanding  and  Refinement  of 
Judaism.  Einhorn  began  publishing  Sinai  within  a  year  after  his 
arrival  in  Baltimore  in  1855.  He  continued  its  publication  until 
January,  1862,  eight  months  after  his  hasty  removal  from 
Baltimore  to  Philadelphia.  The  introduction  to  the  first  volume 
states  that  the  general  purpose  of  his  publication  was  "the 
preservation  and  glorification  of  Judaism  through  its  living, 
God-Spirit  reflecting  institutions,  as  well  as  through  the  removal 
of  everything  that  has  become  extinct  in  it."  x 

But  Einhorn  also  had  a  personal  purpose  in  publishing  Sinai. 
Isaac  Leeser's  Occident  and  Isaac  M.  Wise's  Israelite  were  already 
on  the  American  Jewish  scene.  Both  Leeser  and  Wise,  however, 
represented  interpretations  of  Judaism  with  which  Einhorn  saw 
himself  in  essential  conflict.  He  felt  that  he,  too,  had  to  make 

Rabbi  Bernhard  N.  Cohn  is  the  spiritual  leader  of  The  Suburban  Temple  in 
Wantagh,  New  York, 

1  David  Einhorn,  Sinai  —  A  Voice  for  the  Understanding  and  Refinement  of  Judaism,  I,  I. 

315 


BERNHARD  N.  COHN 

his  views  known  in  order  to  contribute  to  "the  development  of 
American  congregational  life."2  He  had  left  a  controversial 
ministry  in  Germany  and  Hungary  behind,  and  arrived  in 
America  as  a  mature  individual  with  a  profound  knowledge  of 
Judaism  and  general  philosophy  and  with  a  set  of  ideas  and 
attitudes  that  had  already  become  an  integral  part  of  his 
personality.  His  ideas  ran  counter  to  certain  current  American 
Jewish  congregational  and  rabbinic  practices  and  attitudes.  It 
was  in  these  areas  of  disagreement  that  Einhorn  hoped  to 
influence  Jewish  life  in  this  country. 

THE  NATURE  OF  JUDAISM 

Einhom's  Judaism  is  almost  pure  humanism.  "Judaism  is 
humanism."  3  "In  its  essence,  Judaism  is  older  than  the  Israelitish 
tribe.  As  pure  humanity,  as  the  emanation  of  the  inborn  divine 
spirit,  it  is  as  old  as  mankind."  4  As  distinct  from  Orthodoxy, 
which  traces  the  origins  of  Judaism  back  to  Abraham  and  Moses, 
Einhorn  dates  the  origin  of  divine  instruction  from  Adam.s 
Adam  is  humanity  personified.  Abraham  and  Moses  are  the 
personifications  of  the  Jewish  people  in  the  restricted,  partic- 
ularistic, nationalistic  sense,  which  Einhorn  ultimately  rejects. 
Judaism  "is  rooted  in  Adam  and  reaches  its  apex  in  the  Messianic 
and  perfected  humanity."6  The  beginning  and  end  of  Judaism 
is  humanism. 

The  path  that  connects  the  Adam-ideal  and  the  humanistic, 
messianic  kingdom  is  one  of  man's  growing  awareness  of  the 

a  ibid.,  vil,  319-20. 

3  Ibid.,  I,  293. 


Ibid.,  VII,  320. 
*.,  II,  539. 
316 


DAVID  EINHORN:  SOME  ASPECTS  OF  HIS  THINKING 

divine  within  him.  This  divine  spark  is  reason,  the  breath  of 
God  in  man. 7  The  equation  that  to  reason  is  to  exercise  one's 
divinity  is  the  basic  axiom  underlying  Einhorn's  thinking.  Reason 
is  the  sole  organ  of  divine  revelation8  and  the  one  essential 
attribute  of  the  human  spirit.  "The  human  spirit  is  the  son  of 
God,  and  consequently  the  only  mediator  between  God  and 
man,  the  sole  bearer  of  divine  testimony.  Christianity  teaches: 
the  word  is  become  flesh.  Judaism  teaches:  the  word  is  become 
spirit."  The  revelation  of  this  reasoning  spirit  is  as  divine  and 
holy  as  the  actual  voice  of  God. 9 

Revelation  through  reason,  however,  does  not  impose  itself 
from  without.  Man  must  constantly  seek  it.  God  is  man's 
possession,  unlike  the  unreasoning  animal  which  belongs  to 
God. x  °  To  seek  God,  then,  is  to  deepen  one's  spiritual,  rational 
powers  and  to  apply  them  to  life. 

Under  the  impact  of  this  thought,  all  belief  in  the  immu- 
tability of  external  revelation  must  give  way.  Particularly  the 
Ceremonial  Law  is  subject  to  rational  investigation.  Einhorn 
finds  a  spiritual  predecessor  in  Rabbi  Simeon  ben  Jochai,  who 
taught  that  "one  should  investigate  the  foundation  of  the  Divine 
Law"  (Babylonian  Talmud,  Kiddushin  68b).  In  his  opinion,  this 
view  "shook  the  very  foundation  of  the  Orthodox  system.  Once 
we  give  to  reason  the  right  to  inquire  after  the  foundation  of 
the  Divine  Law  we  deny,  from  the  outset,  the  basic  principle 
that  the  Law,  by  virtue  of  its  divine  origin,  possesses  an  absolute 
worth.  Those  divine  ordinances  which  do  not  find  their  justifica- 
tion in  themselves  have,  therefore,  only  a  relative  worth." x  * 

?  Ibid.,  II,  401. 

•  ibid.,  n,  401. 

9  Ibid.,  II,  410. 

**Ilrid.9  II,  510-11. 

*J  Ibid*)  I,  369;  see  also  II,  474. 

317 


BERNHARD  N.   COHN 

The  Moral  Law  alone  has  absolute  worth  and  is  unchangeable. 
It  has  been  constant  since  the  beginning  of  time  even  though  we 
find  that  the  Bible  seems  to  condone  its  transgression  by  men 
like  Abraham  and  Jacob.  The  Bible's  apparent  moral  permis- 
siveness is,  however,  to  be  understood  in  its  proper  perspective. 
Taking  the  unethical  practices  of  polygamy  and  slavery  as 
examples,  Einhorn  explains  that  their  ethical  counterparts 
already  existed  in  Abraham's  time.  If  Abraham  transgressed 
the  Moral  Law,  it  was  not  because  he  lacked  character,  but 
because  he  lacked  sufficient  insight  into  ethical  reality.  The 
point  is  that,  while  the  Moral  Law  is  eternal,  man's  awareness 
of  it  grows.  Such  awareness  appears  as  change.  The  change, 
however,  is  not  in  the  Moral  Law,  but  in  man. r  2 

THE  CEREMONIAL  LAW 

The  same  principle  is  made  to  apply  to  the  Ceremonial  Law  as 
well.  Einhorn  points  to  biblical  evidence  for  change  in  the 
Ceremonial  Law.  These  changes,  however,  do  not  reflect  a 
change  in  the  Law  itself,  but  a  change  in  man's  ceremonial 
needs.13  Man's  moral  needs,  on  the  other  hand,  remain  un- 
changing in  character. 

It  is  this  difference  that  gives  rise  to  the  distinction  between 
the  "essence"  and  the  "form"  of  Judaism.  Its  essence  consists 
of  its  eternal  ethical  truths  and  the  Moral  Law  based  upon  them. 
The  form  of  Judaism  is  its  Ceremonial  Law,  the  binding  char- 
acter of  which  Einhorn  emphatically  denies.14  At  the  same 
time,  however,  Einhorn  does  not  deny  the  possibility  that  the 
Ceremonial  Law,  too,  is  of  divine  origin.  Differing  with  Isaac 

"  Ibid.,  II,  575-76. 
'*  Ibid.,  II,  575-76. 
X4  JWrf.,  VII,  320-21. 

318 


DAVID  EINHORN:  SOME  ASPECTS  OF  HIS  THINKING 

M.  Wise,  who  held  that  all  laws  of  the  Bible,  including  the 
sacrificial  laws,  which  are  bound  by  historical  time  and  need, 
are  not  the  word  of  God,  Einhorn  holds  that  even  the  sacrificial 
cult  "with  its  wealth  of  ideas53  was  carried  by  the  divine  spirit. J  5 
"It  is  quite  possible  to  believe  in  the  divine  origin  of  the  Cer- 
emonial Law,  and  yet,  at  the  same  time,  be  convinced  that  as 
God  had  ordained  this  law  for  the  education  of  a  certain  people, 
so  he  ordained  it  also  for  a  certain  time  and  locale."  l6 

If  one  looks  upon  divine  revelation  as  an  external  act,  any 
breach  of  its  law,  Ceremonial  or  Moral,  from  the  side  of  man, 
must  be  considered  a  sin.  If,  however,  the  rational  human  spirit 
is  the  sole  agent  of  divine  revelation,  then  that  spirit  is  also  in  a 
position  to  justify  by  reason  changes  in  the  divinely  revealed 
law.  At  the  same  time,  the  difference  between  the  Ethical  and 
the  Ceremonial  Law  is  to  be  found  in  the  fact  that  "the  Ethical 
Law  contains  its  rational  justification  within  itself;  while  in  the 
case  of  the  Ceremonial  Law  this  justification  is  to  be  found 
entirely  outside  of  the  law  itself."17  Einhorn  considers  both 
the  Ceremonial  and  the  Moral  Law  of  divine  origin,  but  only  the 
former  as  subject  to  change  by  reasoning  man. 

In  the  end,  it  is  man's  relative  maturity  which  determines 
first,  his  awareness  of  the  Moral  Law,  and  second,  his  need  for 
religious  ceremony.  As  man's  maturity  —  that  is,  his  rational 
capacity  —  increases,  one  notes  a  growth  in  ethical  insight  and 
a  corresponding  decline  in  ceremonial  need.  Einhorn  certainly 
was  convinced  that  morality  was  on  the  march  and  that  man's 
ethical  conscience  was  nearing  perfection.  This  perfection  would 
then  obviate  all  ceremonial  needs  and  herald  the  arrival  of 
messianic  times,  when  Judaism,  having  fulfilled  its  ethical, 

x*  Ibid.9  IV,  284-85,  and  note. 
'•  ZM*,  HI,  79^-97. 


BERNHARD  N.  COHN 

humanizing  mission,  would  lose  its  historical  character  and 
become  "the  common  possession  of  all  peoples."  l8 

THE  SABBATH 

The  significance  that  Einhorn  attached  to  the  Sabbath,  the 
observance  of  which  he  strongly  advocated,19  is  closely  linked 
to  the  Moral  Law  and  its  superiority  over  the  Ceremonial  Law, 
Einhorn  noted  that  while  the  Bible  ordained  the  commemoration 
of  the  events  leading  up  to  the  creation  of  the  Priest-People  at 
Passover,  it  failed  to  command  the  remembrance  of  the  giving 
of  the  Law,  although  this  event  stands  supreme  among  the 
experiences  of  Israel.  The  reason  for  this  is  that,  unlike  the 
exodus  from  Egypt,  the  origin  of  the  Divine  Law  predates 
history  and  therefore  cannot  be  commemorated  as  a  historical 
event.20  The  giving  of  the  Moral  Law  did  not  "happen";  it 
existed,  in  all  its  eternal  and  universally  binding  character, 
from  creation.  This  would  not  have  been  so  had  God  created 
the  world  in  a  state  less  than  perfect.  The  meaning  of  the 
Sabbath,  therefore,  goes  far  beyond  the  fact  that  on  that  day 
God  rested  from  His  labors.  It  was  not  meant  merely  to  prove 
God's  creation  of  the  world,  but  to  attest  to  the  "consummation 
and  perfection  of  the  divine  handiwork."  God  ceased  creating 
because  He  had  finished  His  task  to  His  own  complete  satisfac- 
tion, fulfilling  all  the  needs  of  His  Universal  Kingdom.21 

Since  the  Sabbath  attests  to  the  perfection  of  God's  creative 
endeavors  at  the  beginning  of  time,  it  must  necessarily  involve  a 
denial  of  qualitative  differences  between  man  and  nations.  If  all 
men  are  created  in  the  image  of  God,  they  are  created  on  the 

'«  Ibid.,  IV,  137. 

,  IV,  289-91. 


id.,  11,540. 
320 


DAVID  EINHORN:  SOME  ASPECTS  OF  HIS  THINKING 

same  moral  plane.  Thus,  as  far  as  Judaism  is  concerned,  the 
Sabbath  "does  not  only  involve  a  testimony  to  man's  dignity 
as  the  highest  attainment  of  creation,  but  also  a  definite  protest 
against  the  absolute  (divine)  preference  for  Israel  over  the 
other  nations."22  Israel  never  represented  a  higher  type  of 
human  being  than  any  other  peoples.23  True,  Israel  was  the 
first  to  discover  God's  Law.  However,  anyone  who  claims  that 
because  of  this  discovery  Israel  has  a  monopoly  on  religious 
truth  might  as  well  insist  that  the  brightness  of  the  planet  belongs 
exclusively  to  the  astronomer  who  first  saw  it.24  God's  Law 
belongs  to  all  men  even  though  it  was  discovered  by  Israel. 

From  this  Einhorn  concludes  that  the  importance  of  the 
Sabbath  exceeds  the  specific  limits  of  the  Jewish  people.  In  fact, 
by  virtue  of  its  universal  implications  the  Sabbath  was  meant 
to  be  a  guardian  against  the  ossification  of  the  particularistic 
elements  in  Judaism  which  find  expression  in  the  formal  Cer- 
emonial Law.  Thus  the  observance  of  the  Sabbath  is  designed 
to  preserve  the  Moral  Law  of  mankind  against  the  corroding 
influences  of  Jewish  particularism  which  only  serves  as  a  tem- 
porary vehicle  by  which  God's  original  revelation  to  mankind 
will  eventually  be  fulfilled. 2S 

TALMUD  AND  PEOPLEHOOD 

Israel  is  the  Priest-People,  whose  mission  in  the  world  is  to 
"lead  all  rational  beings  to  the  same  level  of  holiness." 2  6  Its 
purpose  is  to  re-create  the  condition  of  original  perfection  with 

"  Ibid.,  II,  540-41. 

»3  ibid.,  II,  540-41. 

*4  Ibid.,  VII,  325. 
2*  Ibid.,  II,  540-41. 
*«  Ibid.,  VII,  325. 

321 


BERNHARD  N.  COHN 

which  the  universe  and  mankind  were  created.  Israel's  calling 
may  require  certain  "exclusive  religious  signs,  but  its  eternal 
truths  and  moral  laws  .  .  .  shall  and  will  become  the  common 
possession  of  all  peoples." 2  7  Using  a  talmudic  tradition  as  his 
inspiration,  Einhorn  instituted  a  thanksgiving  celebration  on 
the  ninth  day  of  the  Jewish  month  of  Ab  (the  traditional  date 
of  the  destruction  of  the  Temple  in  Jerusalem,  observed  as  a 
day  of  fasting  by  Orthodox  Jewry)  to  commemorate  the  day  on 
which  Israel  was  sent  among  the  nations  as  the  bearer  of 
God's  word.  The  day  marked  for  him  the  birthday  of  the 
Messiah,  the  beginning  of  Israel's  mission  to  the  peoples  of 
the  world.28 

In  order  that  Judaism  might  run  its  destined  course  to  human 
perfection,  nothing  that  stood  in  the  way  of  this  development 
could  be  tolerated.  The  moral  ascendancy  of  man  could  not  be 
hindered  by  a  rigid  and  particularistic  ceremonial  drag  which 
slowed  down,  and  even  prevented,  ethical  growth.  As  far  as 
Einhorn  was  concerned,  the  greatest  obstacle  in  the  way  of 
the  moral  progress  of  Judaism  was  the  Talmud. 

Not  that  the  Talmud  played  a  minor  role  in  the  historical 
development  of  Judaism.  On  the  contrary,  "no  one  will  nor  can 
deny  that  the  Talmud  forms  one  of  the  high  points  in  the 
development  of  Judaism;  that  it  led  Judaism  through  the  most 
fateful  years  of  its  history;  and  that  in  many  respects  it  has 
enriched  it.  Indeed,  one  must  ascribe  to  the  Talmud  this  great 
merit:  that  it  broke  through  the  inflexibility  of  the  biblical 
letter,  and  that  unconsciously  it  reformed  the  Mosaic  Law  in 
accordance  with  the  spiritual  and  practical  needs  of  the  times."  *9 
The  objectionable  character  of  the  Talmud  derives  from  its 

*ilbid.,  VII,  325. 
**Ibid.,  VI,  240. 
**Ibid.3  I,  i. 

322 


DAVID  EINHORN:  SOME  ASPECTS  OF  HIS  THINKING 

clear  intent  to  tie  Jewish  religion  to  Jewish  national  life  and 
peoplehood.  Einhorn  felt  that  any  effort  to  invoke  talmudic 
authority  in  Jewish  life  was  clearly  an  attempt  to  impose  upon 
Judaism  a  particularism  which  was  foreign  to  its  essential  nature. 
In  the  Mosaic  tradition  the  Jewish  people  was  merely  "an 
example  of  fulfilled  and  redeemed  humanity."  Jewish  partic- 
ularism was  "no  more  than  a  lever  of  an  unbounded  univer- 
salism."30  "Spiritually  the  Mosaic  Law  stands  sublimely  above 
all  national  limitations.  But  it  was  in  need  of  Jewish  nationhood 
as  an  educational  device  for  its  world-embracing  ideas."31 
"Jewish  religion  was  only  temporarily  dressed  in  Jewish  na- 
tionality. In  reality  it  was  ordained  to  step  from  behind  these 
restricting  barriers  so  as  gradually  to  become  the  world  religion. 
Thus,  if  according  to  the  talmudic  viewpoint,  it  was  a  major 
concern  to  erect  fences  between  Israel  and  the  nations,  then, 
according  to  Reform  it  is  an  essential  life  task  —  to  tear  these 
down."32 

Furthermore,  to  suggest  that  the  Talmud  should  govern  formal 
Jewish  life  was  proof  that  the  modern  advocates  of  such  a  course 
of  action  misunderstood  the  nature  of  the  Talmud  itself.  Einhorn 
saw  in  the  Oral  Law,  as  embodied  in  the  Talmud,  proof  for  his 
belief  that  Judaism  had  always  made  formal  allowances  for  the 
diminishing  ceremonial  needs  of  man.  "Side  by  side  with  the 
eternal  and  unchangeable  Divine  (Moral)  Law,  there  exists  a 
changeable  and  fluid  element.  This  element  is  the  naked  reli- 
gious form  which  is  motivated  by  the  eternal,  living,  driving 
force  —  the  changeless  spirit  of  the  Law."  This  changeless, 
divine  spirit  has  as  its  task  "the  freeing  of  the  religious  form 
from  the  chains  of  immutability."  Thus,  the  eternal  Divine  Law 

^  Ibid.,  I,  293. 

*Z/*&,II,4XI. 
bid.9  IV,  166. 

323 


BERNHARD  N.  COHN 

is  in  reality  the  inspiration  behind  formal  religious  change.33 
To  assign  to  the  Oral  Law,  and  with  it  to  the  Talmud,  the 
element  of  immutability  is,  therefore,  to  interfere  with  the 
essential  departicularizing  and  humanizing  tendency  in  Judaism. 
Only  through  the  eventual  elimination  of  all  particularistic 
attributes  can  Israel's  divine  mission  to  the  world  be  accom- 
plished, so  that,  in  the  end,  the  Priest-People,  having  fulfilled 
its  task,  can  retire  from  the  scene  and  "blend  with  the  nations 
among  whom  it  lived  in  dispersion." 34 

Einhorn's  view  of  Judaism  may  be  described  as  a  social 
gospel,  the  main  feature  of  which  is  an  unqualified  attempt  to 
equate  the  progress  of  Judaism  with  the  progress  of  humanity 
towards  its  universalistic,  humanistic  goal.  Once  this  goal  is 
achieved,  Judaism  as  a  particular  faith  will  disappear,  and  so, 
presumably,  will  all  other  group  identities.  Judaism,  however, 
can  hasten  this  end  by  living  the  essentially  Jewish  life,  that  is, 
the  life  of  the  eternal  Moral  Law  which  is  its  heart  and  soul. 
All  rituals,  ceremonials,  and  nationalistic  accouterments  of 
Judaism  are  merely  educational  devices  designed  at  various 
moments  in  history  as  means  of  conveying  the  essence  of  the 
eternal  and  perfect  Moral  Law  to  a  maturing  but  as  yet  spir- 
itually imperfect  Jewish  people.  These  educational  devices, 
having  been  handed  down  from  ancient  times,  must  be  elim- 
inated as  they  come  to  be  of  increasing  spiritual  uselessness  to  a 
developing  Jewish  religion.  In  that  way,  Judaism  becomes  an 
ever-present  example  of  a  morally  self-perfecting  humanity. 
Consequently,  any  attempt  to  perpetuate  the  old  expressions  of 
Jewish  particularism  in  a  modern  world  striving  toward  an 
all-embracing  humanism  runs  counter  to  the  essential  meaning 
and  raison  fttn  of  Judaism. 

33  ibid.,  I,  2. 
3  4  ibid.,  IV,  137. 

324 


Isaac  Mayer  Wise's  "Jesus  Himself55 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE,  the  founder  of  the  Hebrew 
Union  College,  is  quoted  only  rarely  in  the  scholarly  books 
which  deal  with  the  question  of  Christian  origins.  The  occasional 
quotations  are  almost  exclusively  from  a  rather  long  book, 
published  by  Wise  in  1868  and  called  The  Origins  of  Christianity 
and  a  Commentary  to  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles.  In  Gosta  Lindeskog's 
Die  Jesusfrage  im  neuzeitlichen  Judentum  (Uppsala,  1938),  this 
largest  of  Wise's  writings  passes  unlisted,  although  three  minor 
items  of  Wise  are  mentioned.  While  Lindeskog  paraphrases 
many  of  the  Jewish  writers  on  Jesus,  he  limits  his  treatment  of 
Wise  to  the  mere  listing  of  the  titles. 

In  addition  to  The  Origins,  Isaac  Mayer  Wise  penned  other 
works  relating  to  Christianity.  The  Martyrdom  of  Jesus  of  Nazareth: 
a  Historic-Critical  Treatise  on  the  Last  Chapters  of  the  Gospel  appeared 
in  1874.  Two  works  appeared  in  1883  —  Three  Lectures  on  the 
Origin  of  Christianity  and  Judaism  and  Christianity y  Their  Agreements 
and  Disagreements.  A  fourth  appeared  in  1889  —  A  Defense  of 
Judaism  versus  Proselytizing  Christianity.  To  my  mind,  however, 
the  most  interesting  and  noteworthy  of  his  writings  relating  to 
Christianity  never  appeared  in  book  form.  It  is  a  series  of 
chapters  entitled  "Jesus  Himself."  The  first  of  these  chapters 
appeared  in  Wise's  weekly  newspaper,  The  Israelite,  on  July  9, 

Dr.  Samuel  Sandmel,  Provost  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  -  Je\vish  Institute  of 
Religion,  is  also  Professor  of  Bible  and  Hellenistic  Literature  at  the  Cincinnati 
School. 

325 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

1869.  The  tenth  chapter,  which  appeared  on  April  i,  1870, 
carries  at  its  end  the  legend:  "To  be  continued." 

It  was  never  continued.  That  the  work  was  never  finished  is 
likely  the  reason  why  "Jesus  Himself3  never  appeared  in  book 
form. 

Equally  as  interesting  as  "Jesus  Himself'  is  a  series  of  chapters, 
translated  from  the  German  by  Wise  and  published  in  The 
Israelite.  Written  by  Gustav  Adolf  Wislicenus,  this  work  has  a 
title  which  in  English  would  be  The  Bible  Considered  for  Thinking 
Readers.  The  Old  Testament  part  appeared  in  1863;  the  New 
Testament  section,  in  the  following  year.  There  seems  to  be  a 
dearth  of  information  on  Wislicenus,  for  he  was  a  man  of  no 
great  importance.  We  know,  however,  that  he  was  born  in 
Germany  in  1805  and  that  he  studied  for  the  ministry.  He 
participated  in  some  revolutionary  movements,  for  which  he  was 
jailed  (possibly  around  1848).  Thereafter,  he  fled  to  America, 
but  later  returned  to  Europe  and  settled  in  Switzerland. 

Wislicenus  was  a  popularizer  of  the  scholarship  of  his  time, 
especially  of  the  iconoclastic  and  shocking  variety.  His  preface 
tells  us: 

Though  earlier  the  Bible  was  considered  exceptional  compared  with 
other  books,  it  is  now  aligned  with  others  as  something  which  appeared 
in  history,  as  an  attestation  of  the  human  spirit,  and  as  an  organ  in 
the  development  of  the  species.  Great  and  wondrous  toil  has  been 
brought  to  bear  in  the  field  of  Bible  study,  so  that  now  a  clear  light 
has  been  shed  over  it,  despite  efforts  to  becloud  clear  sight  and  to 
revert  to  earlier  presentations. 

The  portion  of  Wislicenus  which  Wise  translated  and  pub- 
lished in  his  newspaper  was  only  a  segment  of  the  New  Testament 
section,  that  dealing  with  the  Gospels  and  the  Epistles  of  Paul. 
Wise  did  not  translate,  or  at  least  did  not  publish,  the  Old 
Testament  portion.  I  doubt  that  this  was  an  accident,  for 
although  Wislicenus  was  quite  as  radical  in  his  approach  to  the 
Old  as  to  the  New,  Wise  was  not  similarly  inclined. 
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ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  C6JESUS  HIMSELF55 

In  his  survey  of  the  life  and  teachings  of  Jesus,  Wislicenus 
expresses  doubts  about  the  reliability  of  the  supposition  that 
everything  which  the  Gospels  attribute  to  Jesus  is  really  from 
him  or  about  him.  Indeed,  Wislicenus  is  a  fairly  good  reflection 
of  the  skepticism  which  in  radical  form  was  expressed  by  David 
Friedrich  Strauss  and  in  a  more  moderate  —  I  cannot  withhold 
the  modern  word:  schmaltzy  —  way  by  Ernest  Renan. 

Wise  not  only  translates  Wislicenus,  but  also  annotates  him. 
The  author  and  his  annotator,  however,  are  separated  by  a 
notable  gap:  while  in  a  good  many  places  Wislicenus  doubts 
that  such  and  such  a  statement  was  really  made  by  Jesus,  Wise 
goes  beyond  him  to  doubt  that  Jesus  ever  lived.  (See  The 
Israelite,  July  7,  1865,  p.  428.)  Again,  for  example,  Wislicenus 
makes  the  statement  that  the  four  Gospels  were  "written  in 
Greek,  because  Christianity,  although  originating  among  the 
Hebrews,  soon  stepped  beyond  those  limits,  and  Greek  was 
then  the  universal  language  of  the  East."  To  this  Wise  comments 
in  a  footnote:  "It  is  by  no  means  certain  that  Christianity 
originated  among  the  Hebrews.  Its  Alexandrian  origin  has  been 
maintained  by  many.  See  Diegeses  [sic]  by  R.  Taylor,  p.  136." 

Who  was  Taylor,  and  what  was  this  business  of  Alexandrian 
origin?  Robert  Taylor  (i  784-1844)  was  a  former  Anglican  priest 
who,  after  a  checkered  career,  embraced  Deism  and  wrote  a 
number  of  books  attacking  Christianity  from  the  Deist  point  of 
view.  Diegesis,  A  Discovery  of  the  Origin  of  Christianity,  was  pub- 
lished in  Boston  in  1832.  Since  I  have  not  been  able  to  procure  a 
copy  of  the  book,  I  can  judge  its  tone  only  on  the  basis  of  the 
illuminating  chapter  on  the  Deists5  attitude  to  problems  of  the 
New  Testament  which  F.  C.  Conybeare  summarizes  in  Chapter 
Three  of  his  History  of  New  Testament  Criticism  (1910).  *  On  the 

1  Albert  Schweitzer,  The  Quest  of  the  Historical  Jesus,  ignores  the  Deists  in  general, 
and  the  British  Deists  in  particular.  See  Maurice  Goguel,  Jesus  the  Nazarene,  Myth 
or  History  >  English  translation  (1926),  p.  2,  note  4. 

327 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

negative  side,  the  Deists  either  emphasized  the  discrepancies  or 
what  seemed  to  them  incredibilities  in  the  text;  on  the  other 
hand,  they  offered  explanations  supposedly  more  reasonable 
and  cogent.  It  is  to  be  presumed  —  for  the  matter  is  scarcely 
important  enough  to  justify  research  —  that  among  the  explana- 
tions offered  about  the  "real"  origins  was  the  theory  that 
Christianity  really  emerged  somewhere  in  the  Greek  world. 
What  place  was  better  for  this  suppositions  origin  than 
Alexandria?  In  a  Deistic-like  book,  Christian  Theology  and  Modern 
Skepticism  (1872),  the  Duke  of  Somerset  writes  (p.  70): 

Some  ingenious  writers  have  endeavored  to  trace  the  source  of  Chris- 
tianity to  the  schools  and  synagogues  of  Alexandria.  They  would  even 
interpret  the  prophecy,  "Out  of  Egypt  have  I  called  my  son  (Mt. 
2.15)5"  in  a  mystic  sense. 

The  Deistic  explanations  of  various  and  sundry  items  in  the 
New  Testament  exhibit  what  I  would  call  a  notable  lack  of 
self-criticism  and  restraint.  Indeed,  just  as  the  pious  imagination 
of  the  faithful  managed  to  expand  the  sense  of  the  passage  in 
Matthew  into  a  stipulation  of  how  long  Jesus  sojourned  in 
Egypt,  and  exactly  where,  so  the  imagination  of  the  skeptical 
opponents  soared  far  above  texts  and  above  sobriety.  We  shall 
come  to  see,  I  believe,  that  Wise  himself  absorbed  from  the 
Deists  both  their  attitude  and  their  manner. 

We  must  conclude,  therefore,  that  the  Deists  did  not  offer 
their  theories  in  any  direct  and  vivid  relationship  to  the  text 
or  its  meaning.  Or,  to  put  the  matter  in  a  way  which  risks  the 
charge  of  condescension,  the  Deists  were  dabblers.  The  source  of 
the  Alexandrian  emphasis  is  probably  August  Friedrich  Gfroerer 
(1803-1861),  a  responsible  scholar  who  could  scarcely  foresee 
how  the  irresponsible  would  abuse  his  erudition.  A  long  series 
of  books  under  the  general  title  Geschichte  des  Urchristentums 
appeared  from  1831  to  1838.  The  first  part,  in  two  volumes, 

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ISAAC  MAYER  WISE'S  "jESUS  HIMSELF*' 

was  on  Philo  (20  B.  C.-4O  A.  D.)  and  Alexandrian  theosophy. 
Gfroerer  believed  that  Alexandrian  theosophy  was  very  old 
and  that  it  came  to  be  transplanted  in  Palestine.  That  Gfroerer 
was  not  on  solid  ground  is  not  to  be  taken  as  indicative  of 
limited  or  poor  scholarship,  but  rather  as  the  consequence  of 
his  having  created  and  defended  an  idiosyncratic  theory. 

It  chances  that  another  German,  Bruno  Bauer,  a  vicious 
anti-Semite,  also  came  to  a  judgment  about  Alexandria  and  its 
significance  in  Christian  origins.  To  Bauer,  a  thoroughly  trained 
and  competent  scholar,  Schweitzer  devotes  chapter  XI  of  The 
Quest  of  the  Historical  Jesus.  Bauer  began  as  a  skeptical  critic, 
but  he  had  no  great  doubts  initially  as  to  the  historicity  of 
Jesus;  later,  in  a  two-volume  work  published  in  1850-1851,  he 
arrived  at  the  conclusion  that  Jesus  had  never  lived.  Not  until 
1874  did  Bauer  publish  a  succinct  account  of  his  view.  This  he 
set  forth  in  a  little  book  —  I  found  it  caustic  and  entertaining  — 
which  he  called  Philo,  Strauss,  Renan  und  das  Urchristentum.  Bauer 
contended  that  the  efforts  of  Jesus*  two  "biographers"  to  separate 
the  legendary  and  mythical  from  actual  history  were  misguided. 
They  had  supposed  that  the  Gospels  exhibited  the  growth  of  a 
man  through  legend  into  divinity.  To  the  contrary,  Bauer  held 
that  Jesus  was  the  result  of  making  into  a  human  being  certain 
metaphysical  concepts  which  are  found  in  the  writings  of 
Philo. 

As  noted  above,  Bauer  and  Gfroerer  were,  in  every  technical 
sense  of  the  word,  thoroughgoing  scholars.  The  Deists  were 
rather  dilettantes.  I  have  found  in  Wise  no  indication  of  his 
having  read  Bauer.  I  rather  imagine  that  he  obtained  his  ma- 
terial from  such  people  as  Robert  Taylor. 

One  observes  that,  in  summoning  the  support  of  Taylor  to 
refute  Wislicenus,  Wise  was  smiting  a  broken  reed  with  an 
equally  broken  reed.  One  wonders  if  he  was  as  critical  in  his 
reading  of  Taylor  as  he  was  in  his  examination  of  Wislicenus. 

3*9 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

We  do  not  know.  What  we  can  be  sure  about  is  that  in  1865 
Wise  was  confident  that  there  had  never  been  a  Jesus. 2 

Four  years  later  Wise  began  the  task  of  writing  a  biography 
of  Jesus.  I  do  not  know  what  brought  about  the  change  of  heart. 
Perhaps  it  was  due  to  his  reading  Abraham  Geiger.  This  great 
German  Jewish  scholar  had  published  a  book  of  lectures  in 
1864;  the  book  was  translated  into  English  as  Judaism  and  its 
History  (New  York,  1866).  Three  of  the  lectures  (IX-XI)  were 
on  Christianity.  Geiger  contended  that  Jesus  "was  a  Jew,  a 
Pharisean  Jew  with  Galilean  coloring."  Perhaps  this  affirmation 

a  Wise's  skepticism  at  that  time  (1865)  extended  to  the  question  of  "Jewish- 
Christianity"  :  "If  the  cradle  of  Christianity  was  in  Alexandria,  the  Jewish-Christians 
were  proselytes  of  a  later  date"  (The  Israelite,  XII  [July  7, 1865],  p.  12).  Commenting 
in  the  same  issue  on  Wislicenus'  discussion  of  the  genealogy  of  Jesus,  Wise  says: 

It  is  strange  that  after  the  admission  that  we  know  of  Jesus  only  what  we 
learn  from  the  Gospels,  which  are  as  good  as  no  source,  the  author  should 
maintain  to  know  anything  sure  regarding  Jesus.  Nothing  is  sure,  not  even 
that  he  existed.  Jesus  might  have  been  a  dramatical  fiction,  invented  for 
religious  mysteries. 

Where  Wislicenus  denies  that  Jesus  was  born  in  Bethlehem,  declaring  that 
"it  was  historically  known  and  could  not  be  denied  that  Jesus  was  from  Nazareth," 
Wise  comments:  "Nothing  could  be  historically  known  concerning  Jesus,  as  nothing 
is  historically  known  about  him  today"  (ibid.9  August  4,  1865,  p.  36). 

Wise  was  prepared  at  that  time  to  extend  his  skepticism  to  the  point  of  denying 
that  John  the  Baptist  had  ever  lived.  Wise,  discussing  the  baptism  of  Jesus,  comments 
on  the  mention  of  John  in  Josephus: 

It  (the  baptism)  might  be  a  historical  fact,  if  the  following  doubts  did  not 
exist,  ist.  Did  Jesus  exist,  or  is  he  a  dramatical  fiction,  invented  for  religious 
mysteries  of  days  long  before  Paul?  2nd.  Did  John  exist?  The  passages  re- 
garding him  in  Josephus  are  spurious.  If  John  and  Jesus  were  real  per- 
sonages . . .  then  there  is  no  evidence  of  their  having  had  any  acquaintance 
with  each  other,  outside  of  the  New  Testament,  and  this  can  not  be  used  as  a 
historical  source  at  all  (ibid.9  August  n,  1865,  p.  45). 

As  to  the  words  which  the  Gospels  attribute  to  Jesus,  Wise  says: 

There  is  not  the  slightest  evidence  in  record  that  he  existed,  much  less  that  he 
made  a  speech.  Nothing  is  more  common  to  ancient  chronographers  than  to 
invent  speeches  for  their  favorite  heroes  and  put  them  conveniently  in  their 
mouths  (ibid.,  October  27,  1865.  See  items  in  a  similar  vein  in  the  issues  of 
November  3rd,  1 7th,  and  24th  of  the  same  year). 

330 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE'S  "jESUS  HIMSELF" 

by  a  great  Jewish  scholar,  following  as  it  did  the  affirmation 
(1856)  by  Heinrich  Graetz,  exercised  some  influence  on  Wise. 
Yet  my  reading  of  Wise  keeps  persuading  me  of  the  relative 
independence  of  his  mind,  both  where  independence  was  a 
virtue  and  where  it  was  not  necessarily  so. 

If  it  was  not  the  reading  of  Geiger  which  changed  Wise's 
mind,  then  I  confess  to  not  knowing  what  it  was. 

It  is  reckless  to  make  too  great  an  inference  from  a  small 
matter.  In  1866,  Wise  commented  on  Wislicenus5  account  of 
Jesus'  activities  in  Jerusalem.  Wislicenus  had  remarked  that  the 
"cursing  of  the  fig-tree"  (Mark  11:12-14)  is  the  sole  miracle 
attributed  to  the  Jerusalem  period.  Concerning  this  Wise 
comments:  "It  is  not  at  all  wonderful  that  Jesus  wrought  no 
miracles  in  Jerusalem  ...  it  is  only  remarkable  that  the  evan- 
gelists invented  none  for  him"  (The  Israelite,  March  12,  1866, 
p.  293).  It  is  to  be  noted  that  here  we  no  longer  deal  with  an 
outright  denial  of  the  existence  of  Jesus,  but  with  the  beginning 
of  the  separation  in  Wise's  mind  of  Jesus  from  those  who  wrote 
about  him.  Here  the  dichotomy  is  only  hinted  at;  three  years 
later  the  distinction  blossomed.  We  move  from  denial  in  1865, 
to  a  grudging  and  vague  acceptance  of  historicity  in  1866,  to  an 
effort  at  biography  in  1869. 

Though  I  cannot  explain  what  made  Wise  change  his  mind, 
to  speculate  about  it  is  harmless.  Indeed,  from  something  which 
Wise  says  in  his  very  first  chapter,  I  suspect  that  Wise,  on  mulling 
over  Wislicenus  and  others,  noted  what  so  many  modern  Jews 
have  been  quick  to  see:  that  items  in  the  Gospels  impinge  on 
materials  found  in  the  rabbis,  and  what  is  rare,  or  rather,  was 
rare,  is  that  this  impingement  was  either  not  noticed  or  else 
not  handled  with  accuracy  and  authority.  Wise  wrote: 

Besides  Lightfoot's  and  Isidor  Kalisch's  fragmentary  essays,  no  book 
or  essay  in  the  English  language  has  become  known  to  us,  which 
treats  on  the  Ancient  Rabbinical  Literature  in  connection  with,  and 

331 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

in  comparison  to,  the  New  Testament,  to  illustrate  the  circumstances 
which  must  be  fully  understood,  in  order  to  form  a  correct  conception 
of  the  person,  events,  and  lessons  described  by  the  authors  of  that 
collection. 

Wise  undoubtedly  thought  that  through  the  use  of  rabbinic 
literature  he  could  do  a  much  better  job  than  his  predecessors 
had  done.  It  is  my  conjecture  that  through  his  sense  of  com- 
petency in  rabbinics  he  became  confident  of  his  ability  to  surpass 
these  others.  This  newly  found  understanding,  I  believe,  led 
him  out  of  his  skepticism  about  Jesus  and  into  an  avowal  that 
Jesus  had  really  lived. 

Isidor  Kalisch,  referred  to  above,  was  born  in  Krotoschin  in 
1816;  he  came  to  the  United  States  in  1849,  anc*  died  in  Newark 
in  1 886.  So  numerous  are  his  essays  —  unhappily,  never  gathered 
into  a  book,  but  scattered  throughout  The  Israelite,  The  Occident, 
and  the  London  Jewish  Chronicle  —  that  I  have  not  been  able  to 
determine  exactly  which  essay  Wise  had  in  mind.  As  to  Light- 
foot,  there  is  this  quandary.  There  was  a  British  bishop,  Joseph 
Barber  Lightfoot,  who  was  born  in  1828  and  who  was  a  great 
New  Testament  scholar.  Wise  might  possibly  be  referring  to 
him,  but  I  think  that  this  is  unlikely,  for  his  literary  activity 
seems  to  have  begun  just  about  the  time  that  Wise  himself  was 
writing. 

What  is  more  reasonable  is  to  understand  the  reference  as 
being  to  John  Lightfoot  (1602-1675),  who  became  quite  a 
notable  Talmudist.  His  Home  Hebraicae  et  Talmudicae,  composed 
in  Latin  between  1658  and  1674,  gave  Talmudic  parallels  to 
much  (though  not  all)  of  the  New  Testament.  The  Horae  was 
published  in  an  English  translation  in  1859.  Lightfoot  wrote  a 
good  many  essays,  one  edition  of  which  was  published  in  1822- 
1825.  Jt  is  likely,  then,  that  it  is  John  Lightfoot  whom  Wise 
means;  but  I  am  unable  to  say  which  is  the  particular  essay  to 
which  he  refers. 

332 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE5S  "jESUS  HIMSELF" 

In  his  first  chapter.  Wise  outlines  for  his  readers  what  his 
procedure  will  be: 

The  authors  of  the  New  Testament  maintain  that  they  have  described 
the  words  and  actions  of  Jesus.  Their  books  must  be  considered  the 
primary  source  to  this  work.  This  standpoint  suggests  a  number  of 
inquiries.  By  what  means  did  those  authors  obtain  possession  of  the 
matter  they  communicate?  Were  they  eye-witnesses  of  the  events 
which  they  describe;  did  they  borrow  them  from  written  records,  or 
from  traditions;  or,  did  they  invent  them?  Were  they  able  to  write 
the  full  truth,  and  was  it  their  intention  to  do  so,  or  merely  to  write 
in  defense  of  preconceived  doctrines?  Which  is  fact  and  which  embel- 
lishment? Have  we  the  means  of  distinguishing  the  fact  from  the 
embellishment?  Are  we,  at  this  distance  of  time,  able  to  understand 
those  authors  correctly?  Can  we  tell  with  certainty  when,  where,  by 
whom,  and  in  what  language  those  books  were  written? 

Wise  proceeds  to  discuss  the  Jewish  backgrounds,  making  the 
usual  mention  of  the  Essenes  (Wise  takes  his  stand  with  others 
who  believe  that  the  word  is  corrupted  from  the  word  Hasidim), 
the  Sadducees  (the  aristocrats),  and  the  Pharisees  (the  democrats) . 

As  to  the  Gospels  themselves  (which  Wise  discusses  in  The 
Israelite  of  July  23,  1869),  Wise  makes  a  number  of  statements 
which  are  both  interesting  and  also  regrettably  less  than  com- 
pletely clear.  One  of  his  first  is  a  tiny  misstatement  of  no  great 
significance,  except  possibly  to  alert  us  to  the  frequency  with 
which  unimportant  misstatements  appear  in  these  chapters.  The 
four  Gospels,  he  says,  are  called  canonical,  "in  contradistinction 
of  the  Apocryphal  Gospels  which  were  rejected  by  the  Council 
of  Nice3  (325  A.  C.)  as  fraudulent  productions."  He  goes  on  to 
explain  what  is  meant  by  the  italicized  words  "according  to" 
in  such  titles  as  the  Gospel  according  to  Mark  or  according  to  Luke: 
the  names  are  not  the  names  of  the  authors  of  the  Gospels,  but 
these  men  "taught  Christianity  to  these  respective  congregations 

3  Sec  Caspar  Ren6  Gregory,  Canon  and  Text  of  the  New  Testament,  p.  262:  "The 
Council  of  Nice  in  325  does  not  appear  to  have  determined  anything  about 
Scripture." 

333 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

out  of  which  the  ultimate  authors  of  the  written  Gospels  arose.9* 
This  explanation  is  quite  ingenious;  thus  far  I  have  not  met 
it  anywhere  else.  It  is  the  reverse  of  a  frequent  and  familiar 
explanation  of  the  phenomenon.  Most  scholars  who  see  growth 
in  the  process  of  Gospel  formation  would  regard  "Matthew" 
or  "Luke"  as  the  final  step  in  the  procedure  by  which  oral 
materials  or  rudimentary  written  sources  become  transmuted 
into  Gospels;  with  Wise,  however,  "Matthew"  and  "Luke" 
supply  the  original  impetus,  and  only  thereafter  does  a  Gospel 
ultimately  achieve  its  present  form. 

Wise  was  certain  that  none  of  the  Gospels  in  existence  today 
"existed  in  the  first  century"  (The  Israelite,  XVI,  July  23,  1869, 
p.  9).  While  most  scholars  of  today  would  undoubtedly  differ 
with  Wise,  he  was  in  his  own  time  not  too  far  removed  from  the 
dates  which  some  Protestant  scholars  were  assigning  to  the 
Gospels. 4 

That  the  Gospels  were  relatively  late  literary  products  meant 
to  him  that  their  reliability  was  thereby  impugned;  "Their 
statements  rest  upon  no  known  authority.  Nobody  can  tell  who 
made  those  statements,  when  or  where  they  were  made.  There- 
fore nobody  can  reasonably  vouch  for  the  veracity  of  those 
authors  .  .  ."  (ibid.). 

Yet  the  nature  of  the  content  of  the  Gospels  prompts  Wise 
to  make  a  distinction  which  for  him  (and  for  our  understanding 
of  him)  is  of  great  significance. 

The  pages  . .  .  are  adorned  with  accounts  of  miracles,  exorcism, 
thaumaturgy,  the  words  and  deeds  of  angels,  demons  and  Satan 
himself.  ...  In  vain  are  all  the  attempts  of  rationalistic  expounders  to 
allegorize,  or  explain  away  otherwise,  the  extraordinary  performances 
and  preternatural  phenomena. . .  .  Those  superstitions  weaken  the 
authority  of  the  Gospels. .  . .  There  is  no  connection  between  the 
doctrine  or  fact  and  the  miracle  wrought  to  prove  the  former.  The 

4  See  the  convenient  table  in  James  Mofiatt,  An  Introduction  to  the  Literature  of 
the  New  Testament,  p.  213. 

334 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE*S  "jESUS  HIMSELF5' 

written  miracle  is  perfectly  useless.  We  have  before  us  a  doctrine  and  a 
miracle.  If  the  understanding  declared  the  doctrine  true,  the  miracle 
is  superfluous,  as  the  doctrine  can  be  no  better  or  more  true.  If  the 
understanding  doubts,  the  miracle  can  not  improve  the  case.  For  we 
must  first  believe  the  miracle  on  the  authority  of  the  witness  or  of 
the  writer,  which  has  no  affinity  with  the  understanding,  in  order  to 
believe  also  the  doctrine  which  anyhow  must  offer  some  affinity  with 
the  understanding.  .  . .  Doctrines  surpassing  the  universal  understand- 
ing of  man  are  absurdities  which  no  miracle  can  change  into  legitimate 
propositions.  . . .  All  the  miracles  can  not  improve  a  fact,  or  make  it 
one,  if  it  is  not . .  .  (ibid.,  July  23,  1869). 

The  distinction  which  Wise  draws  is  that  only  that  material 
in  the  Gospels  which  is  totally  devoid  of  the  miraculous  is 
worthy  of  being  regarded  as  historically  reliable.  The  initial 
test  for  historical  reliability,  then,  will  be  the  "naturalistic" 
content  of  the  Gospels.  One  by-product  was  Wise's  ability, 
after  this  decision,  to  bypass  almost  all  the  chapters  in  the 
Gospels  which  deal  with  the  career  of  Jesus  prior  to  his  entry 
into  Jerusalem. 

But  even  before  he  can  proceed  to  matters  of  substance,  Wise 
has  more  words  of  introduction.  Not  only  do  the  Gospels 
contain  the  "preternatural,"  but  as  literary  documents  their 
relationships  with  each  other  need  to  be  defined,  for  they  cover 
the  same  material  about  Jesus,  often  with  divergencies,  but 
often,  too,  with  similarities  and  near-identities.  While  by  Wise's 
time  the  so-called  "two-source  theory"  (that  Luke  and  Matthew 
independently  used  as  sources  Mark  and  a  body  of  "teachings" 
known  as  Q,,  Quelle,  "source")  had  been  articulated  and  was 
on  the  way  to  becoming  a  cornerstone  of  Gospel  study,  Wise 
cites  no  scholars  as  authority,  but  instead  offers  his  own 
judgment: 

Mark  may  have  seen  Matthew's  book,  or  vice  versa.  Luke  must  have 
seen  Matthew's  and  Mark's  Gospels,  and  John  knew  the  three  Synoptic 
Gospels  and  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles.  Nevertheless  they  disregarded 
and  contradicted  one  another,  not  only  in  the  particulars  of  the  story, 

335 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

but  also  in  the  speeches  and  the  parables  ascribed  to  Jesus.  . .  .  The 
evangelists  did  not  consider  one  another  reliable  authorities,  and 
each  of  them  took  the  liberty  to  change,  amend,  omit,  and  add. .  . 
(ibid.,  July  30,  1869), 

This  statement  addresses  itself,  of  course,  to  the  divergencies 
in  the  Gospels.  But  Wise  was  equally  under  obligation  to  account 
for  the  similarities: 

They  could  not  have  copied  from  one  another  the  passages  which 
they  have,  literally  alike,  unless  they  were  in  possession  of  a  fixed 
standard,  by  which  they  judged  that  certain  passages  were  genuine, 
and  others  were  not.  This  consideration  naturally  leads  to  the  hypoth- 
esis, the  passages,  literally  alike  in  the  Gospels,  must  have  been  copies 
from  an  old  work  of  this  kind. 

Wise  was  neither  the  first  nor  the  last  to  suppose  that  some 
primitive  Gospel  underlay  the  four  which  came  to  be  canonical; 
scholarship  today  still  deals,  though  passingly,  with  a  by  now 
old  theory  concerning  an  "Ur-Markus,"  a  primitive  version  of 
Mark  out  of  which  the  present  Mark  was  composed.  For  my 
own  understanding,  I  find  the  theory  of  an  Ur-Markus  an 
inescapable  necessity;  but  I  should  not  dream  of  supposing  that 
this  Ur-Markus  was  a  standard  to  which  all  the  evangelists 
adhered.  Yet  this  is  Wise's  supposition,  at  least  at  this  point  in 
his  writings;  elsewhere  he  seems  to  me  at  times  to  hold  related 
but  slightly  different  views. 

Having  supposed  that  there  was  at  one  time  a  primitive 
Gospel,  Wise  goes  on  to  identify  it  for  us.  He  finds  it  in  a  Gospel 
known  in  quotation  from  the  Church  Fathers  as  the  Gospel  of 
the  Hebrews.  Wise  is  aware,  of  course,  that  modern  scholars5 
consider  the  fragmentary  Gospel  of  the  Hebrews  to  have  been 
derived  from  the  canonical  Gospels,  especially  from  Matthew; 
yet  Wise  believes,  to  the  contrary,  that  the  true  source  of  the 


s  See  Adam  Fyfe  Findlay,  "Jewish  Christian  Gospels,*9  in  his  Byways  in  Early 
Christian  Literature,  pp.  33-78. 

336 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  "jESUS  HIMSELF9' 

acknowledgedly  spurious  Gospel  of  the  Hebrews  was  an  earlier 
Gospel.  Wise  implies  that  others  have  considered  a  primitive 
Gospel  in  Hebrew  or  in  Aramaic  to  be  merely  a  hypothesis. 
"With  us,  this  is  no  hypothesis.  We  can  produce  positive  evidence 
that  a  Gospel  existed  in  the  apostolic  age,  and  that  Gospel  was 
either  in  Hebrew  or  in  Aramaic." 

Wise's  proof  leads  him  through  what  he  himself  calls  a  "chain 
of  rabbinic  reasoning."  He  uses  oft-cited  passages  in  Tosefta 
Yadaim  II,  5  (and  in  Shabbat  n6a,  restored  from  the  excisions 
by  medieval  Christian  censors)  which  state  that  certain  "scrolls" 
(gilyonim)  were  not  worthy  of  being  rescued  from  a  conflagration 
on  the  Sabbath.  Two  rabbis,  Meir  and  Johanan,  punned  on 
the  word  gilyonim,  yielding  the  equivalent  of  evangelyonim,  that  is, 
Gospels.  A  huge  literature  exists  on  these  passages. 

Wise  has  an  ingenious,  although  improbable,  interpretation 
of  his  own  to  add  to  the  rabbinic  passages.  He  is  not  content 
for  them  to  be  second-century  statements  alluding  to  a  Hebrew 
or  Aramaic  Gospel,  but  he  finds  some  need  (which  eludes  me) 
to  derive  the  word  evangelion  from  the  Hebrew  root  GLH,  "to 
reveal,"  rather  than,  as  gilyon  would  be  derived,  from  the  root 
meaning  "to  roll"  (as  in  a  scroll).  The  Greek,  of  course,  is  a 
compound  of  eu  and  angelion,  "good"  and  "tiding."  But  were 
Wise  to  have  conceded  that  the  rabbinic  pun  rested  on  a  Greek 
word,  his  case  for  a  primitive  Gospel  in  Hebrew  or  Aramaic 
would  have  been  weakened,  or  even  shattered.  By  means  of 
the  Hebraic  etymology,  Wise  was  able  to  persuade  himself  that 
Jewish  Christians  had  a  Hebrew  or  Aramaic  sacred  book,  for 
"the  primitive  Christians  .  .  .  when  still  included  in  the  commu- 
nity of  Israel,  had  sacred  books  which  they  considered  equally 
holy  with  the  Bible.  Those  books  must  have  been  Hebrew  or 
Aramaic,  as  translations  of  the  Bible  itself  were  not  included  in 
the  Sabbath  statute." 

But  Wise  has  not  yet  finished  his  proof.  In  this  additional 

337 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

item,  he  goes  lamentably  astray.  The  Palestinian  Talmud  records 
that  one  Ben  Stada  brought  necromancy  from  Egypt  (and  now 
note  the  key  words)  "in  this  same  kind  of  writing."  The  context 
of  this  passage  in  the  Talmud  did  not  excite  Wise's  attention; 
it  is  likely  that  he  knew  it  from  memory  and  desisted  from 
checking  on  it.  Let  us  suppose,  for  a  moment,  that  the  Talmud 
does  relate  that  one  Ben  Stada  brought  some  kind  of  writing 
from  Egypt.  It  is  a  hoary  matter  that  Ben  Stada  and  Jesus  were 
identified  with  each  other  in  Jewish  tradition. 6  At  first  glance, 
following  Wise,  it  would  appear  that  Ben-Stada-Jesus  brought 
some  kind  of  writing  from  Egypt,  and  this  would  give  us  an 
Alexandrian  origin.  The  fact  is,  however,  that  in  its  own  context 
in  the  Talmud  the  kind  of  writing  under  discussion  does  not 
refer  to  the  scroll  form,  or  the  papyrus  form,  but  to  writing  on 
one's  own  skin!  The  correct  rendering  of  the  passage  would 
omit  the  words  "in  this  same  kind  of  writing,"  and  read  instead: 
"Did  not  Ben  Stada  bring  necromancy  out  of  Egypt  in  the  same 
kind  of  way  [on  his  own  skin]?" 

As  noted  above,  Wise  went  astray  as  an  autodidact  often 
goes  astray,  through  lack  of  some  measure  of  self-restraint.  I 
have  reproduced  this  item,  not  out  of  the  wish  to  disparage  a 
man  whom  I  truly  admire  and  whose  memory  I  truly  reverence* 
but  only  out  of  honesty  and  out  of  the  conviction  that  the  minor 
error  is  too  petty  to  require  forgiveness.  Men,  trained  more 
rigorously  than  Wise  ever  had  the  opportunity  to  be,  have  in 
the  last  decade  written  things  about  the  Dead  Sea  Scrolls 
infinitely  more  startling  than  this  divagation  of  Wise's. 

Let  us  now  return  to  Wise's  main  line  of  argument.  One  may 
cast  aside  the  miraculous  in  the  Gospels.  But  the  Gospels,  espe- 
cially the  Synoptics  (Mark,  Matthew,  and  Luke),  do  have  a 
large  measure  of  agreement  with  each  other,  and  this  agreement. 

6  See  Jacob  Z.  Lauterbach,  Rabbinic  Essays,  pp.  514-30. 

338 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  "jESUS  HIMSELF*' 

Wise  states,  results  from  the  common  use  of  the  original  Aramaic 
or  Hebrew  Gospel.  In  such  agreement  in  the  Synoptic  Gospels, 
Wise  says,  there  are  historically  reliable  elements. 7 

This  preface  over,  Wise  is  now  ready  for  the  substance  of  his 
study.  His  first  problem  is  the  date  of  the  birth  of  Jesus.  Wise, 
like  Protestant  scholars,  tries  his  hand  at  reconciling  the  material 
in  Matthew,  Luke,  and  Josephus.  Stated  briefly,  Matthew  2:1 
offers  the  datum  that  Jesus  was  born  in  the  time  of  Herod,  who 
died  in  4  B.  C.  Luke  identifies  the  time  of  the  birth  with  a  census 
which  is  either  now  totally  unknown,  or  is  possibly  to  be  iden- 
tified with  a  census,  not  the  world-wide  one  of  Luke,  but  one 
known  to  us  from  Josephus  as  a  strictly  local  one  which  took 
place  in  6  C.  E.8  Luke  3:23  relates  that  Jesus,  at  the  height  of 
his  career,  was  thirty  years  old;  John  8:57  seems  to  suggest  that 
Jesus  was  then  "nearly"  fifty.  According  to  Wise,  one  needs 
then  to  determine  Jesus'  age  as  between  John  and  Luke,  and  the 
year  of  his  birth  as  between  Matthew  (4  B.  G.)  and  Luke 
(6  G.  E.).  Wise  notes  that  some  manuscripts  of  John  read 
"nearly  forty33  and  he  adopts  the  latter  reading  as  correct. 
(Modern  scholars  consider  it  a  deliberate  change  so  as  to  avoid 
the  sharp  conflict  between  Luke  and  John,  for  thirty  and  "nearly 
forty3'  are  not  quite  so  far  apart  as  thirty  and  nearly  fifty.)  As 
to  choosing  between  Matthew  and  Luke,  for  Wise  this  is  easy. 

The  infant  stories  of  Matthew  are  manifest  inventions.  No  critic  will 
attempt  to  save  them.  The  massacre  of  the  babes  at  Bethlehem  is  an 

7  "John's  Gospel  <•*?*»  hardly  be  counted  in  this  direction.  He  is  a  dogmatic  writer 
and  no  biographer.  He  shaped  the  biography  of  Jesus,  and  wrote  speeches  for 
him,  to  express  John's  dogma  of  Alexandrian  Cfliristianity,  as  it  originated  [note 

here  the  change  in  Wise's  viewpoint]  in  the  second  century We  know  of  those 

corresponding  passages,  that  they  were  copied  and  translated  from  a  Hebrew  or 
Aramaic  work,  which  existed  in  the  second  half  of  the  first  century**  (The  Israelite, 
July  30,  1869). 

8  On  this  hoary  problem,  see  Charles  A.  H.  Guignebert,  Jesus  (English  translation 
by  S.  H.  Hooke),  pp.  96-104. 

339 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

imitation  of  the  passage  in  Exodus  narrating  the  birth  of  Moses  and 
the  babes  drowned  in  the  Nile  by  command  of  Pharaoh.  Also  the 
astrologers  and  the  star  are  taken  from  rabbinical  legends  on  the  birth 
of  Moses. 9  Like  Luke,  so  nobody  now,  outside  of  the  church,  believes 
Matthew's  infant  stories.  ...  In  the  following  book  we  treat  of  the 
year  36,  A.  C.,  which  is  the  year  of  the  national  career  and  death  of 
Jesus  of  Nazareth  (ibid.,  August  6,  1869). 

Wise  moves  promptly,  as  I  have  intimated  above,  from  the 
establishment  of  this  chronology  of  the  birth  of  Jesus  to  the  end 
of  his  career  in  Jerusalem.  The  Galilean  period,  the  journey  to 
Jerusalem,  with  all  the  various  and  sundry  details,  seem  brushed 
aside,  for  they  contain  miracles,  but  the  period  in  Jerusalem 
does  not,  and  Wise  without  delay  brings  Jesus  to  the  Holy  City. 

Prior  to  recounting  the  entry  of  Jesus  into  Jerusalem,  Wise 
presents  a  character  analysis.  The  Herodians  were  wicked 
persecutors. 

Persecution  invariably  contributes  to  the  elevation  of  the  victim.  .  , . 
The  persecution  of  Herod  attracted  the  masses  to  Jesus  of  Nazareth, 
the  meek  and  unpretending  teacher  of  a  small  circle  of  disciples  from  the 
humble  and  neglected  class  of  society.  The  keen  eye  of  public  in- 
quisitiveness  discovered  the  hiding  places  of  Jesus  upon  the  shores  of 
the  Sea  of  Galilee. .  . .  Friends  and  opponents  congregated  around 
him,  to  listen  to  his  lessons,  or  to  oppose  his  doctrines.  .  .  . 

Resistance  and  success  . . .  developed  in  Jesus  the  desire  to  become 
the  savior  of  his  people,  whose  misery  then  must  have  touched  the 
heart  of  every  patriot.  His  name,  Jesus,  which  signifies  savior,  un- 
doubtedly contributed  to  the  birth  of  this  idea  in  him,  which  the 
combination  of  circumstances  ripened  to  solid  resolution. 

A  great  design,  once  conceived  rand  embraced,  changes  the  entire 
character  of  the  man.  .  .  .  The  same  was  the  case  with  Jesus.  Having 
resolved  upon  becoming  the  savior  of  his  people,  the  simple  enthusiast 
under  the  very  eye  of  his  disciples,  as  it  were,  was  transformed  into  a 
being  of  higher  powers.  This  is  the  sense  of  the  transfiguration  legend 
which  is  copied  almost  literally  from  Plato's  Phaedon. z  ° 

9  Wise  here  has  a  footnote:  "See  Rashi  to  Exodus  1:16." 

10  One  needs  to  say  that  Wise's  interpretation  of  the  transfiguration,  Mark  9:2-13, 
is  as  extreme  an  example  of  "rationalistic"  interpretation  as  that  which  he  himself 

340 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE*S  "jESUS  HIMSELF*' 

In  the  account,  as  Wise  rewrites  it,  there  is  a  culprit  —  but 
It  is  not  Jesus.  True,  Jesus  had  the  intention  of  becoming  the 
savior  of  his  people.  But 

Peter  suggested  the  idea,  how  to  rouse  and  captivate  popular  enthu- 
siasm in  favor  of  the  master  and  his  designs.  The  messianic  mania 
had  taken  hold  of  the  Hebrews,  in  a  most  deplorable  manner.  .  .  . 
Peter  suggested  the  idea  —  "Thou  art  Christ,"  the  Messiah.  Jesus, 
fully  aware  of  the  dangers  connected  with  that  position,  was  startled 
by  the  novel  idea,  and  prohibited  his  disciples  to  publish  it.  But  the 
word  was  spoken,  the  spark  had  fallen  on  combustibles.  The  mission 
of  the  master  had  assumed  shape  and  form  in  that  popular  word.  .  .  . 
Jesus  expostulated  with  Peter,  pointing  out  clearly  the  perilous  condi- 
tion in  which  the  Son  of  Man  was  placed.  Peter  attempted  to  overcome 
the  master's  apprehensions,  and  succeeded  in  obtaining  the  tacit 
consent  of  Jesus  to  this  hazardous  enterprise.  Jesus  never  claimed 
the  messianic  dignity.  His  disciples,  on  the  suggestion  of  Peter,  claimed 
it  for  him  (ibid.,  August  13,  1869,  p.  9). 

It  is  worthwhile  here  to  interrupt  Wise's  account  in  order  to 
notice  how  close  he  came,  in  different  though  overlapping 
terms,  to  a  somewhat  related  theory  in  Das  Messiasgeheimnis  in 
den  Evangelien  (1901),  by  William  Wrede.  Both  Wise  and  Wrede 
notice  the  phenomenon  in  Mark  that  Jesus  never  makes  a  clear 
claim  to  Messiahship;  for  both,  some  secrecy  seems  to  shroud  it. 
Wrede  explains  the  motif  by  asserting  that  the  affirmation  of 
Jesus'  Messiahship  arose  only  after  the  belief  in  the  resurrection 
from  death  had  gripped  his  followers,  and  that  Jesus  in  his 
lifetime  never  claimed  to  be  the  Messiah.  The  German  title  of 
the  book  by  Albert  Schweitzer  known  as  The  Quest  of  the  Historical 
Jesus  is  Von  Reimarus  zu  Wrede  —  the  same  Wrede.  Since  the  turn 
of  the  century  there  has  been  under  Wrede's  influence  a  host  of 
writings  which  echo  the  assertion  that  Jesus  did  not  claim  the 
Messiahship;  many  writers  seem  bent  on  protecting  Jesus  from 

had  scorned.  The  dependency  of  the  passage  in  Mark  on  the  Phaedon  is  new  to  me; 
David  Friedrich  Strauss,  Life  of  Jesus  (English  translation),  pp.  545~46,  note  19, 
finds  a  similarity  in  Plato's  Symposium,  523  B  ff.,  suggestive. 

341 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

the  supposed  arrogance  implicit  in  such  a  Messianic  claim.  I 
might  add  that  neither  Wrede,  with  all  his  subsequent  influence, 
nor  Wise,  with  all  his  obscurity  in  this  area,  appears  to  me  to 
have  recognized  what  the  Gospel  of  Mark  is  really  saying, 
namely,  that  despite  all  the  miracles  which  Jesus  accomplished, 
his  foes,  the  Pharisees  and  the  Sadducees,  did  not  believe  him, 
and  his  own  followers  did  not  understand  him.11  Mark,  in 
short,  is  not  stressing  Jesus'  silence,  but  rather  the  opaqueness 
of  the  disciples  who  see  but  do  not  understand  Jesus5  miracles. 

To  move  on,  Wise  notices  that  for  the  journey  to  Jerusalem 
from  Galilee  Mark  and  Matthew  set  a  route  that  leads  eastward 
across  the  Jordan,  southward  to  Jericho,  and  then  a  recrossing 
of  the  Jordan  and  a  westward  trip  to  Jerusalem,  while  Luke  has 
Jesus  remain  always  west  of  the  Jordan,  thereby  obligating 
Jesus,  in  his  account,  to  pass  through  Samaria.  The  difference, 
Wise  suggests,  "is  somewhat  obscure." 

As  to  the  entry  into  Jerusalem,  Wise  notices  that  Mark  and 
Luke  suggest  that  Jesus  entered  on  one  ass,  while  Matthew 
suggests  two  animals  (for  Matthew  misunderstood  the  proof-text 
from  Zechariah  9:9  which  he  quoted).  Wise,  however,  gives 
his  attention  primarily  to  explaining  why  an  ass  was  needed: 
without  it 

the  Messiah  could  not  possibly  have  come  to  the  satisfaction  of  the 
masses.  .  . .  Popular  superstition  would  have  the  Messiah  to  come 
riding  on  an  ass,  and  Jesus  had  to  submit  to  it. ...  Although  the  story 
of  the  ass,  as  before  us  in  the  Synoptics,  bears  the  stamp  of  fiction, 
nevertheless,  from  the  concurrence  of  the  Evangelists,  it  appears 
certain  that  Jesus  was  persuaded  to  enter  Jerusalem  riding  on  an  ass, 
in  order  to  comply  with  a  popular  superstition  (ibid.,  August  13,  1869). 

As  to  the  journey,  the  entry,  and  the  reception  of  Jesus,  it  is 
irrelevant  here  to  reproduce  Wise's  struggle  with  the  Gospel 
accounts.  We  can  turn  directly  to  his  summary: 

1  x  I  discuss  this  in  my  The  Genius  of  Paul,  published  by  Farrar,  Straus  &  Gudahy 
(New  York,  1958). 

342 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  "jESXJS  HIMSELF" 

The  facts  in  the  case  appear  to  have  been  these:  Jesus  at  Caesarea 
Philippi  having  consented  to  play  the  messianic  role,  he  went  with 
his  disciples  on  by-ways,  always  evading  the  authority  of  Herod,  down 
to  the  line  [Wise  means  the  boundary]  of  Judea,  crossing  and  re- 
crossing  the  Jordan  until  he  reached  Jericho,  from  whence  they 
traveled  fast  to  reach  Jerusalem  unmolested.  Here  the  brilliant  feat 
was  to  be  rapidly  carried  out,  Jesus  proclaimed  the  Messiah,  to  rouse 
the  popular  enthusiasm,  the  people  thus  won  and  amazed,  to  be  relied 
upon  in  case  of  an  interference  by  the  government,  and  the  whole 
affair  to  be  accomplished  by  one  brilliant  and  rapid  movement .... 

That  Jesus  found  many  and  ardent  friends  and  admirers  among  the 
multitudes  in  Jerusalem,  can  hardly  be  doubted.  But  they  were  not 
as  numerous  nor  as  enthusiastic  as  the  disciples  expected  from  the 
messianic  appeal  to  the  masses.  Little  regard  was  paid  to  the  Messiah, 
although  considerable  attention  was  bestowed  on  the  words  and 
lessons  of  Jesus,  who  had  laid  aside  altogether  the  messianic  character, 
and  appeared  as  the  young  sage  of  Nazareth,  expounding  his  scheme 
of  salvation.  This  gained  him  friends  and  admirers,  while  the  messianic 
pretensions  of  his  disciples  made  him  ridiculous  with  the  learned, 
obnoxious  to  the  Roman  authorities,  and  drove  thousands  of  peaceable 
citizens  from  him;  because  they  knew  from  sad  experience  that  almost 
any  pretext  sufficed  Pilate  for  massacre  and  pillage.  So  Jesus,  who 
had  been  a  persecuted  fugitive  in  Galilee,  entered  now  upon  his 
national  career  under  the  worst  auspices.  He  stood  upon  a  threatening 
volcano,  and  he  knew  it  well  (ibid.,  August  20,  1869). 

The  incident  of  the  "cleansing  of  the  Temple"  provides  Wise 
with  an  opportunity  to  distinguish  between  a  historical  item 
and  a  legend.  The  texts  of  the  Synoptics  (Mark  11:17;  Matthew 
21:13;  and  Luke  19:46)  accompany  the  cleansing  with  a  quota- 
tion by  Jesus  from  Isaiah  56:7  and  Jeremiah  7:11,  "My  house 
shall  be  called  a  house  of  prayer  for  all  people  but  you  have 
made  it  a  den  of  robbers."  The  "turning  over  the  tables  of  the 
money  changers,"  Wise  asserts,  is  not  historical,  but  rather  the 
application  to  Jesus  of  a  biblical  passage,  such  application  of 
Scripture  being  frequent  in  the  Gospels.  The  verse  in  question 
is  the  very  last  verse  in  Zechariah  which,  translated  variously 
(for  one  word  in  it  means  both  Canaanite  and  also  trader), 
runs  as  follows:  "There  will  be  no  trader  [Canaanite]  in  the 

343 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

house  of  the  Lord  of  Hosts  on  that  day."  The  cleansing,  derived 
as  it  is  from  a  biblical  passage,  is  pure  legend  in  Wise's  eyes. 

But  the  citation  from  Isaiah  is,  according  to  Wise,  "a  mem- 
orandum of  the  first  part  of  the  speech  which  Jesus  made  in 
Jerusalem,  a  memorandum  written  exactly  in  the  style  of  that 
age  —  O'pnD  wi."  " 

Wise  believes  that  this  speech  of  Jesus  was  a  full  and  un- 
relenting attack  on  the  system  of  priests  with  their  sacrifices. 
He  would  have  Jesus  emphasize  that  it  is  prayer  which  the 
Temple  should  foster,  not  sacrifice. 

With  Jesus  striking  at  the  very  root  of  their  existence,  the  chief  priests 
must  naturally  have  felt  alarmed.  The  larger  the  number  of  his 
admirers  was,  the  more  cause  of  apprehension  existed.  The  brief 
memorandum  of  that  speech  gave  rise  to  the  unskillful  expulsion 
story  which  is  incompatible  to  the  general  character  and  behavior  of 
Jesus,  and  bears  in  itself  characteristics  of  improbability  (ibid.,  August 
27,  1869,  p.  9). 

Wise  then  proceeds  to  give  a  full  account  of  the  priestly  system, 
both  in  extent  and  in  history.  A  part  of  this  is  truly  amazing. 
In  the  first  place,  Wise  asserts,  the  laws  relating  to  sacrifices 
in  the  Pentateuch  are  inconsistent  and  replete  with  conflict. 
How  to  account  for  this?  Wise  finds  the  answer  in  Exodus  20:24, 
which  prescribes  an  altar  of  stone  where  one,  to  paraphrase 
Wise  with  my  italics,  "might,  if  he  wanted  to"  offer  sacrifices. 
That  is,  Moses  initially  wanted  sacrifices  to  be  voluntary,  but 
after  the  incident  of  the  golden  calf, 

Moses  realized  that  many  of  his  people  were  not  sufficiently  free  of 
Egyptian  superstition  to  adhere  to  the  pure  worship  of  the  one  and 
invisible  God,  without  the  aid  of  external  means  to  which  they  had 
been  used. 

Therefore  Levitical  institutions  were  added,  the  purpose  of 
which  was 

""Chapter  headings!'* 
344 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE5S  "jESUS  HIMSELF" 

to  prevent  the  relapse  into  idolatry,  and  to  educate  the  people  gradually 
to  the  pure  knowledge  and  worship  of  God.  Had  Moses  intended  the 
Levitical  system  [my  italics:]  for  all  eternity  .  .  .  the  first  passage  . .  . 
[would]  have  been  entirely  omitted  in  the  Bible  as  being  of  no  force 
and  no  value.  .  .  .  Psalmists  and  Prophets,  Essenes  and  Pharisees,  at 
times  when  idolatry  had  been  effectively  overcome,  opposed  the 
Levitical  laws  and  institutions.  .  .  . 

It  appears  ...  to  have  been  an  acknowledged  fact  among  the  ancient 
Hebrews,  as  it  is  among  modern  critics,  that  Ezra  was  the  final  compiler 
of  the  Pentateuch.  In  the  holy  archives,  rescued  out  of  the  destroyed 
Temple,  he  must  have  found  two  kinds  of  ancient  documents,  the 
Prophetical  and  Levitical.  .  .  .  Among  the  Prophetical  scriptures, 
Ezra  found  the  laws  and  speeches  of  Moses.  Among  the  Levitical 
scriptures  he  found  the  Levitical  laws,  also  ascribed  to  Moses.  He 
compiled  and  harmonized  both  as  best  he  could. 

Against  the  Levitical  institutions,  we  have  on  record  an  almost 
uninterrupted  line  of  opposition  throughout  the  Bible,  and  down  to 
the  Essenes  and  Pharisees,  without  any  evidence  that  they,  or  a  large 
portion  of  them,  originated  with  Moses. . . .  Jesus  coincided  with  that 
party  in  Israel,  which  opposed  the  Levitical  institutions.  .  .  . 

....  The  Essenes  and  Pharisees  offered  theoretical  opposition  only, 
which  did  not  directly  interfere  with  the  priestly  immunities  and 
prerogatives.  But  Jesus  had  come  with  the  avowed  intention  to  do  it.  ... 
Therefore  the  chief  priests  must  have  hated  and  opposed  him  with  all 
the  power  at  their  command  (ibid.,  September  10,  1869,  pp.  8-9). 

Behind  the  story  of  the  cursing  of  the  fig  tree  in  Mark  n, 
Wise  finds  the  second  part  of  Jesus5  sermon.  The  story  itself  is, 
Wise  assures  us,  absurd: 

No  figs  on  any  tree  are  edible  in  Palestine  about  Passover  time.  .  .  . 
It  involves  a  wickedness  to  destroy  a  tree  which  God  has  intended  to 
grow,  when  the  Law  prohibits  the  wanton  destruction  of  fruit  trees 
even  in  the  time  of  war.  It  involves  a  rashness  on  the  part  of  Jesus  .  . . 
which  .  .  .  cannot  be  harmonized  with  his  general  character.  But  the 
purpose  of  the  incident  is  to  let  Jesus  speak  on  the  power  of  prayer 
(for  so  the  incident  concludes  in  both  Mark  and  in  Matthew). 

Wise  digresses  momentarily  to  assert  that  Jesus  never  taught 
the  Lord's  prayer,  for  it  was  common  knowledge  among  Jews, 
and  then  he  returns  to  his  point  In  the  first  part  of  his  sermon, 

345 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

Jesus  had  argued  in  favor  of  abolishing  the  sacrificial  system; 
"he  dwells  in  the  second  part  of  his  speech  on  the  power  of 
prayer  in  general  and  the  forgiveness  of  sins  in  particular,  as 
the  mode  of  worship  to  supercede  [sic]  the  sacrificial  polity." 

These  sentiments  of  Jesus  were  not,  Wise  assures  us,  new. 
But  his  sentiments  "alarmed  the  chief  priests."  They  knew 
"how  popular  and  deep-seated  the  anti-Levitical  theories  were, 
and  felt  the  magnitude  of  the  threatened  danger." 

Jesus'  demand  that  the  form  of  worship  be  changed  from 
sacrifice  to  prayer  was.  Wise  tells  us,  "a  main  feature  in  the 
Messianic  scheme  of  redemption  and  which  Jesus  attempted  at 
Jerusalem.  This  explains  .  .  .  the  charges  against  Jesus  .  .  .  that 
he  could  destroy  and  rebuild  the  Temple  in  three  days,  which 
refers  only  and  exclusively  to  the  radical  change  in  the  form  of 
worship"  (ibid.,  September  17,  1869). 

Wise  proceeds  to  the  next  point  in  the  Gospel  narrative,  the 
conflict  over  the  question  of  authority.  Jesus,  it  will  be  recalled, 
is  asked  (Mark  1 1 127  ff.  and  parallels)  by  what  authority  he  is 
acting.  He  is  reported  to  counter  with  the  offer  to  answer  the 
question  if  first  his  questioners  will  tell  him  whether  the  baptism 
of  John  was  from  heaven  or  from  man.  When  the  questioners 
evaded  responding,  Jesus  in  turn  refused  to  answer  them.  What 
did  Wise  make  of  all  this? 

Wise  contends  that  in  Hebrew  history  the  issue  of  authority 
had  never  been  fully  resolved.  It  lay  partly  in  priests,  partly  in 
prophets.  In  Jesus3  time  the  Pharisees  inherited  the  prophetic 
mantle,  but  authority  had  at  that  juncture  been  usurped  by  the 
priests.  Now,  if  Jesus  had  claimed  prophetic  authority  in  the 
controversy,  he  would  have  been  asked  for  credentials  which 
could  not  be  forthcoming  and  consequently  he  would  have  been 
ridiculed;  we  recall  that,  according  to  Wise,  Jesus  did  not  work  a 
miracle  in  Jerusalem. 

And  even  if  Jesus  were  truly  the  Messiah,  Wise  argues,  he 

346 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE'S  "jESUS  HIMSELF9* 

could  scarcely  maintain  that  the  Messiah  had  the  power  to 
abrogate  laws  which  had  been  in  existence  for  1,500  years! 
Could  Jesus  confront  the  guardians  of  the  sacrificial  system  with 
a  contention  that  he  had  been  granted  the  authority  to  abrogate 
that  which  they  were  dedicated  to  maintain?  (ibid.,  September 
24,  1869,  pp.  8-9). 

The  nature  of  Jesus3  reply  —  that  of  a  simple  Galilean  now 
confronted  by  brilliant  and  educated  minds  and  thereby  choosing 
a  counterquestion  —  must  not  be  misconstrued  as  an  unseemly 
dodging  of  the  issue.  Unable  to  point  to  a  prophetic  or  messianic 
authority,  Jesus 

pointed  to  the  authority  of  John  who  had  baptized  and  appointed 
him  as  one  of  the  anti-Levitical  and  theocratic  teachers  in  Israel,  as  a 
representative  man  of  those  who  demanded  the  abrogation  of  the 
Levitical  institutions  and  priesthood.  .  .  .  He  spoke  in  the  name  and 
the  authority  of  the  laws  and  the  people  from  the  standpoint  of  a 
Pharisean  associate,  which  he  considered  'better  than  the  authority 
of  the  king  and  the  prophet  .  .  .  (ibid.,  September  24,  October  i 
and  8,  1869). 

Jesus3  view  of  "Pharisean5'  authority  is  discernible,  according 
to  Wise,  in  the  parable  (Mark  12:1-12  and  parallels)  of  the 
vineyard  owner  who  sends  a  series  of  servants  to  obtain  fruit 
from  his  tenants;  the  tenants  not  only  beat  the  servants,  but 
finally  they  kill  the  owner's  son  and  heir.  Wise  requires  three 
issues  of  The  Israelite  to  arrive  at  his  explanation  of  the  parable, 
for  he  digresses  to  discuss  both  John  the  Baptist  and  Jewish 
baptism. 

The  "parable"  is  not  a  parable,  modern  scholars  tell  us,  but  a 
loosely-knit  group  of  symbolic  events.  The  tenants  are  Israel; 
the  owner  is  God.  The  "collectors"  are  the  prophets;  the  son  is 
Jesus.  In  the  view  of  virtually  all  modern  scholars,  the  "parable" 
arose  long  after  Jesus'  time.  But,  after  asserting  that  Jesus  would 
not  skip  about  from  subject  to  subject,  Wise  tells  us  what  the 
parable  means. 

347 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

In  Wise's  explanation,  it  is  John  the  Baptist  who  is  the  son, 
the  temple  is  the  vineyard,  and  the  tenants  are  the  priests. 

If  our  suggestions  are  correct,  the  parable  is  genuine,  and  the  reply  of 
Jesus  is  complete.  .  .  .  God  .  .  .  entrusted  this  national  sanctuary  to 
the  priests  [tenants],  who  for  centuries  have  been  rebuked  by  the 
prophets  [the  servants],  whom  they  have  abused  and  scorned.  Now 
the  lord  of  the  vineyard  sent  his  son,  John,  who  preached  repentence 
[sic]  and  remission  of  sin;  but  he  was  killed  [by  Herod]. 

Wise,  as  though  not  quite  sure  that  his  interpretation  is 
correct,  spends  several  paragraphs  defending  its  tenability.  And 
having  thereby  protected  Jesus  from  the  possible  charge  of  being 
evasive,  he  speaks  warmly  on  "how  Jesus  confronted  his  powerful 
opponents.  He  did  it  nobly,  boldly,  and  admirably,  worthy  of  a 
great  cause  and  a  good  man.3' 

Wise  interrupts  his  eulogistic  summary: 

We  hope  to  defend  Jesus  of  Nazareth  against  his  adversaries  and  to- 
save  him  from  his  friends.  If  the  reader  will  patiently  follow  us  through 
the  labyrinth  of  researches  which  we  must  pass  on  account  of  the 
entirely  new  path  we  have  to  level,  he  shall  finally  have  a  full  and 
correct  image  of  Jesus  himself,  the  historical  man  as  he  lived,  taught,. 
acted  and  suffered  (ibid.,  October  15,  1869,  pp.  8-9). 

Wise  turns  now  to  what  he  terms  in  his  chapter  heading  "The 
Positive  Element  in  the  System  of  Jesus."  Wise  contends  that 
Jesus  espoused  Jewish  theocracy  to  the  point  of  being  unwilling 
to  handle  or  even  look  at  a  Roman  coin  bearing  an  effigy  of 
Caesar. 

Therefore,  in  strict  conformity  with  the  law  of  the  land,  he  decided 
that  every  coin  bearing  the  effigy  of  Caesar  should  not  be  turned  to 
any  earthly  use,  but  returned  to  Caesar.  This  decision  was  not  only 
satisfactory  to  Pharisean  law,  and  the  Pharisean  contempt  of  wealth 
and  luxury;  it  was  a  capital  hit  on  those  who  loved  the  Roman  coins 
too  well,  better  even  than  their  laws  and  their  country  (ibid.,  October 
29  and  November  5,  1869). 

A  long  essay  (in  the  issue  of  November  12,  1869)  sets  forth 
the  view  that  "there  is,  indeed,  ample  material  on  record,  to 

348 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE'S  "jESUS  HIMSELF" 

prove  that  Jesus  respected  the  law,  and  considered  salvation  an 
obedience  to  it."  A  week  later,  Wise  gives  first  a  definition  of 
the  Kingdom  of  God,  and  then  his  opinion  of  Jesus'  view.  The 
definition  which  Wise  gives  he  labels  in  very  many  places  in  his 
writings  as  "theocracy."  The  kingdom  of  God  signifies  "the 
unlimited  dominion  of  God  on  earth  as  in  heaven,  and  the 
connection  of  all  men  with  him  by  the  holy  ties  of  supreme 
love.  .  .  .  The  kingdom  of  heaven  is  in  time  and  eternity,  above 
and  below,  in  this  and  every  other  world,  in  life  and  in  death, 
unlimited,  immutable,  eternal  and  universal.  .  .  ."  The  com- 
mentators, however,  says  Wise,  make  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven 
"a  mystic  phantom  beyond  the  stars  for  some  ascetic,  weeping 
and  praying  misanthropes."  Jesus  wanted  to  abolish  Levitical 
laws  and  to  usher  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven;  he  was  opposed  to 
human  kings,  whether  a  Jewish  Herodian  or  a  Roman  Caesar. 
Jesus 

had  come  ...  to  deface  the  Levitical  priests,  to  make  an  end  of  corrup- 
tion in  high  places,  to  return  the  Roman  money  to  Rome,  to  restore 
the  dominion  of  justice  and  love,  to  reconstruct  the  kingdom  of 
heaven.  .  .  . 

Did  Jesus  preach  this  gospel  to  Jews  alone,  or  was  it  intended  for 
the  whole  world?  Like  the  prophets  of  old,  he  must  have  believed  in  the 
final  triumph  of  truth,  the  redemption  and  fraternization  of  the  human 
family  in  justice,  freedom  and  peace.  .  .  ,  All  pious  Israelites  believed 
it,  and  repeated  it  thrice  every  day  in  their  prayers.  But  Jesus  knew 
this  was  not  the  mission  of  one  man  or  any  one  age.  .  .  .  Our  age  is 
not  ripe  for  the  consummation  of  that  divine  purpose,  how  much  less 
was  the  age  of  Jesus;  and  he  must  have  known  it.  He  considered  it  his 
mission  to  restore  the  kingdom  of  heaven  in  Israel.  "I  am  not  sent  but 
to  the  lost  sheep  of  Israel,"  if  not  his  words,  expressed  certainly  his 
sentiment  (ibid.,  November  19,  1869,  PP- 


In  several  succeeding  issues  of  The  Israelite,  Wise  discusses  the 
relationship  of  Jesus  to  Jewish  law.  As  before,  he  again  asserts 
that  Jesus  advocated  "theocracy."  Wise  then  states  that,  when 
Jesus'  teaching  of  the  law  of  love  evoked  the  observation  that 

349 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

"no  man  thereafter  durst  ask  him  any  question35  (Mark  12:34), 
it  meant  that  there  was  satisfaction  among  most  of  the  Jews 
with  his  viewpoint  and  that  "the  triumph  of  Jesus  with  that  class 
of  Pharisees  was  complete"  (ibid.,  November  26,  1869).  Wise 
goes  on  to  concede  that  this  latter  conclusion  is  discernible 
only  in  Mark  and  in  Luke. 

The  proof  which  Wise  offers  is  the  passage  in  which  Jesus  is 
asked,  "What  is  the  greatest  commandment?"  In  Mark,  Jesus 
replies:  "  'The  first  is,  "Hear,  O  Israel:  The  Lord  our  God, 
the  Lord  is  one."  The  second  is  this,  "You  shall  love  your 
neighbor  as  yourself."  There  is  no  other  commandment  greater 
than  these.'  "  Matthew  and  Luke,  however,  lack  the  citation  of 
the  "Hear,  O  Israel."  Wise  goes  astray  here,  attributing  the 
lack  only  to  Matthew,  and  mistakenly  asserting  that  Luke,  like 
Mark,  contains  it.  He  would  have  been  on  sounder  ground  to 
have  contrasted  Mark  with  both  Luke  and  Matthew,  rather 
than  Mark  and  Luke  with  Matthew.  Having  made  the  error, 
Wise  goes  on  to  state  that  Jesus'  triumph  with  the  Pharisees 
was  complete,  but  "Matthew,  whose  anti-Pharisean  [sic]  tend- 
encies we  will  discuss  in  another  chapter,  turns  the  statement  of 
the  two  other  Evangelists,  to  convey  the  direct  contrary  (XXII, 
46)."  It  is  nevertheless  clear,  says  Wise,  that  "had  Jesus  enter- 
tained the  remotest  idea  of  abrogating  the  law,  this  question 
and  the  subsequent  reply  [which  we  find  in  Mark]  would  appear 
simply  absurd.  .  .  ."  But  why  the  different  reply  in  Matthew, 
where  the  "Hear,  O  Israel"  is  omitted?  Rather  laconically, 
Wise  gives  an  answer,  and  we  must  supply  some  words  which 
Wise  lacks.  Mark  (and  in  his  mistaken  view,  Luke)  is  a  strict 
Unitarian;  "it  appears  that  'God  is  One'  was  [an  obstacle] 
in  Matthew's  way,  who  was  acquainted  with  Paul's  son  of 
God." 

Yet,  despite  the  differences  in  the  Gospel  accounts,  there  is  a 
basic  agreement  in  the  matter  of  the  question  and  the  answer, 

350 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  "  JESUS  HIMSELF9' 

says  Wise,  to  show  that  the  love  of  God  "is  an  integral  part  of 
Jesus5  scheme  of  salvation.5' 

Wise  now  proceeds  to  set  forth  at  some  length  a  distinction 
between  "Love35  and  "Gnosis.55  Love  was  for  Jesus,  as  for  Moses, 
the  "Postulate  of  Ethics.55  To  hold  such  a  view  was  "in  strict 
compliance  with  one  class  of  Pharisees.55  The  "gnostics55  (not 
to  be  confused,  says  Wise,  with  the  heretics  of  Christian  history) 
were  those  who  emphasized  study  and  contemplation.  They 
included  the  Essenes  and  the  Therapeutae  of  Egypt,  as  well  as 
those  rabbis  who  expressed  scorn  for  the  'Am  Hcfaretz  (the 
untutored).  The  principal  exponent  of  such  gnosticism  was 
Rabbi  Eliezer  ben  Hyrcanus,  upon  whom  the  anti-gnostic 
Pharisees  imposed  a  ban  shortly  after  the  fall  of  Jerusalem. 
From  this  latter  incident  it  is  clear,  says  Wise,  that  Pharisees 
"as  a  class  were  not  responsible  for  this  peculiar  gnosticism. 
They  held  views  entirely  contrary.  . .  ."  Passages  in  Aboth,  such 
as  "knowledge  (research)  is  not  the  main  thing,  deeds  are,53 
represent  the  Pharisean  school  of  love.  The  Levitical  laws  gave 
rise  to  Gnosis;  the  Mosaic,  to  Love.  "Jesus  advanced  the  law  of 
love  as  the  criterion  by  which  to  recognize  the  eternal  and 
unalterable  laws,  the  only  infallible  guides  to  happiness.  .  .  ,55 13 

The  agreement  of  Jesus  with  the  Pharisees  was  not  only  in 
the  "Postulate  of  Ethics53;  it  was  also  in  what  Wise  terms  "the 
Postulate  of  Hermeneutics.55  This  latter,  according  to  Wise,  is 
expressed  in  the  following  passage:  "  'Thou  shalt  love  thy 
neighbor  like  thyself,5  says  Rabbi  Akiba,  cis  the  cardinal  principle 
of  the  law.5  Ben  Azai  [sic]  said,  c  "This  is  the  book  of  the  gen- 
ealogy of  man55  is  a  principle  superior  to  the  above.5  55  In  a 

13  Wise  continues:  "If  Jesus  had  been  asked  the  question  of  crusades  against 
infidels,  pyres  for  heretics  [sic]  and  unbelievers,  persecution  and  torture  for 
schismatics  and  Jews,  exceptional  laws  and  oppression  for  dissenters  and  heathens, 
inquisitions  and  auto-da-fees  [sic]  in  the  name  of  the  church;  he  would  have 
turned  aside  with  a  shudder  in  his  veins  and  exclaimed,  *  Ye  are  ripe  for  the  kingdom 
of  Satan*  "  (ibid.,  December  3,  1869). 

351 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

footnote  Wise  supplies  the  Hebrew  and  his  source,  "Yalkut  613 
from  Saphira."  A  few  paragraphs  later,  Wise  cites  Hillel's 
formulation  of  the  Golden  Rule  as  still  another  example  of 
the  Law  of  Love. 

We  need  not  linger  on  Wise's  extended  remarks  on  tangential 
issues.  After  several  such  pages,  he  proceeds  to  what  he  calls 
"A  Review":  . .  . 

Jesus  expected  to  save  the  people  of  Israel,  to  restore  the  kingdom  of 
heaven.  It  was  wise,  sublime,  thoroughly  Jewish  and  worthy  of  a 
pious,  enlightened  and  enthusiastic  patriot. .  . .  The  scheme  was 
eminently  religious  and  eminently  impractical.  Rome  would  not 
favor  any  policy  or  tolerate  any  popular  movement  which  might 
have  rescued  Israel  from  the  doom  of  destruction  . . .  great  souls  feel 
common  disappointments  much  deeper  than  vulgar  ones  do.  .  . .  Jesus 
standing  upon  the  ruins  of  his  hope  of  hopes  . .  .  must  indeed  have 
exclaimed,  "My  God,  my  God,  why  hast  thou  forsaken  me?" 

What  office,  asks  Wise,  did  Jesus  fill? 

Peter's  Messiah,  a  Jewish  phantomism;  Paul's  Son  of  God,  a  Pagan 
vision  from  Olympus;  and  John's  Logos,  a  purely  Alexandrian  product 
of  speculation,  are  ideas  as  widely  different  from  one  another,  as  all  of 
them  are  from  the  Godhead  Jesus  of  trinitarian  orthodoxy.  They  were 
three  distinct  epochs  in  the  origin  of  Christianity.  None  of  these  titles 
does  Jesus  use  or  claim  in  the  Gospels  (ibid.,  December  31,  1869). 

Jesus  himself  never  made  the  claim  to  Davidic  descent  (ibid., 
January  7,  1870).  Rather,  there  is  evidence  "from  fragments  in 
the  Gospels  on  the  dissensions  among  the  disciples  about  rank 
and  precedence  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven"  that  some  of  the 
disciples  "must  have  speculated  for  Jesus  on  some  kind  of 
spiritual  governorship  in  the  reconstructed  Theocracy"  (ibid., 
January  14,  1870).  The  office  of  Jesus,  in  his  own  eyes,  was 
"Son  of  Man."  This  "was  the  title  of  the  prophets  in  and  after 
the  Babylonian  exile."  Indeed, 

the  prophet  was  to  be  the  chief  man  in  the  Theocracy.  This  is  the 
position  which  Jesus  expected  in  the  reconstructed  kingdom  of  heaven. 

35* 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  "jESUS  HIMSELF" 

It  was  not  an  office  with  emoluments.  ...  It  was  simply  and  exclusively 
a  moral  position.  . . . 

Had  Jesus  actually  restored  and  maintained  the  Theocracy  he  would 
have  been  its  prophet. . .  .  Had  his  disciples  not  committed  the 
unpardonable  blunder  of  proclaiming  him  the  Messiah,  he  might  have 
escaped  crucifixion But  yielding  to  the  ambition  and  false  calcula- 
tion of  his  disciples,  he  sealed  his  death  warrant  (ibid.,  January 
28,  1870). 

Next  Wise  turns  to  a  problem:  "Jesus  of  Nazareth  was  a 
Pharisean  doctor.  He  coincided  with  that  party  in  every  point 
of  Theocracy."  Then  why,  asks  Wise,  do  New  Testament 
writings  attack  the  Pharisees  and  distort  what  they  were?  In 
answer,  Wise  combs  rabbinic  literature  so  as  to  be  able  to  assess 
the  Pharisees  justly;  and  such  quotations  he  balances  by  the 
assertion  that  "The  anti-Pharisean  passages  of  the  gospels  were 
written  long  after  the  death  of  Jesus  .  .  .,  when  the  Jewish  sects 
besides  the  Pharisees  and  Christians  almost  disappeared,  and 
Pharisaism  and  Judaism  had  become  synonymous;  and  still 
later,  in  the  second  century,  when  Judaism  and  Christianity 
had  become  two  distinct  religions"  (ibid.,  March  4,  1870). 

In  the  next  issue  (March  n,  1870)  Wise  studies  the  anti- 
Pharisaic  elements  common  to  all  three  gospels  (and  thus,  in 
his  view,  part  of  the  aboriginal  Gospel),  sifting  them  so  that  they 
emerge  no  longer  as  anti-Pharisaic,  but  only  as  a  denunciation  of 
"hypocrisy,  avarice  and  morbid  ambition."  The  same  pursuit 
occupies  him  in  the  following  issue  (March  18,  1870).  He  pro- 
longs the  study  still  one  more  issue;  therein  he  aligns  Hillel  with 
exponents  of  the  Law  of  Love,  and  Shammai  with  the  Gnostics. 
On  this  basis  he  is  ready  (ibid.,  April  i,  1870)  to  conclude  that 
Jesus  "clung  most  tenaciously  to  the  genuine  Hillelites." 

Wise  proceeds  in  the  same  issue  to  try  to  distinguish  between 
the  genuine  aphorisms  of  Jesus  and  the  spurious.  Those  aph- 
orisms which  agree  with  the  rabbis,  and  especially  with  the 
Hillelites,  are  genuine;  the  others  are  not. 

353 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

For  perhaps  the  twentieth  time  Wise  repeats  that  Jesus  was  a 
"Pharisean  doctor  of  the  Hillel  school."  He  ends  the  segment 
of  his  essay  with  these  words:  "He  spoke  of  his  people  with 
respect.  He  said  to  the  Samaritan  woman,  cYe  worship  ye 
know  not  what;  we  know  what  we  worship,  for  salvation  is  of 
the  Jew5  (John  IV,  22)." 

In  capital  letters  there  appear  the  words,  "to  be  continued." 
Nevertheless,  this  was  the  end. 

Why  did  Wise  not  continue?  Why  did  he  not  finish?  We  do 
not  know.  Perhaps  his  reason  was  profound;  perhaps  he  simply 
ran  out  of  time.  Indeed,  it  may  have  been  that  he  had  said  all 
that  he  wanted  to  say. 

If  it  should  be  suggested  that  he  abstained  from  finishing 
because  he  had  little  confidence  in  the  reliability  of  what  he 
had  written,  then  it  can  be  reported  that,  in  those  instances 
where  his  subsequent  writings  touch  on  the  contents  of  "Jesus 
Himself,"  the  basic  viewpoint  and  even  specific  details  remain 
virtually  unaltered.  While  I  have  not  encountered  a  second 
mention  of  an  aboriginal  Gospel  which  served  all  three  or  four, 
or  a  clear  repetition  of  his  division  of  Pentateuchal  religion 
into  the  Mosaic  and  the  Levitic,  yet  overtones  of  both  reappear, 
for  example,  in  the  material  on  Jesus  in  History  of  the  Hebrews' 
Second  Commonwealth  (1880),  pp.  255-68.  Moreover,  his  portrait 
of  Jesus  recurs  without  change  in  a  work,  originally  published 
in  1874,  which  enjoyed  three  printings,  the  last  in  1888;  I  refer 
to  The  Martyrdom  of  Jesus  of  Nazareth  which  I  mentioned  earlier. 
The  Jesus  who  walked  in  the  pages  of  "Jesus  Himself'  walks 
these  pages,  too.  Indeed,  The  Martyrdom  is  in  a  sense  the  conclu- 
sion to  the  unfinished  "Jesus  Himself,"  for  in  The  Martyrdom 
Wise  takes  up  the  account  virtually  where  it  left  off. 

Wise  is  not  to  be  classified  as  a  scholar  in  the  same  sense  in 
which  we  rank  David  Friedrich  Strauss,  or  Ferdinand  Christian 
Baur,  or  Oskar  Holtzmann,  or  others  of  his  time.  Scholarly, 

354 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISEJS  "jESUS  HIMSELF" 

perhaps,  but  a  scholar  of  New  Testament  he  is  assuredly  not. 
His  writings  in  this  area  are  devoid  of  any  lasting  scientific  value; 
he  was  essentially  a  shrewd,  self-taught  homiletician  who  wrote 
farfetched  things.  But  here  is  a  matter  always  to  be  remembered: 
Bible,  whether  Old  or  New  Testament,  has  always  attracted  the 
mind  that  is  capricious  and  cavalier.  Wise  was  doing  the  same 
kind  of  thing  that  many  second-rate  Protestant  scholars  were 
doing.  He  is  more  farfetched  only  when  we  isolate  single 
instances;  in  the  totality  of  the  effect,  one  need  only  peruse  those 
who  have  summarized  the  overabundant  books  called  "The 
Life  of  Jesus"  to  see  that  Wise  was  in  the  main  stream  of  the 
imaginative  Protestant  dilettantes. 

But  when  one  assesses  the  total  man  —  a  very  busy  rabbi, 
the  editor  of  both  an  English  and  a  German  weekly,  a  traveler, 
a  novelist  (sometimes  he  had  two  novels  running  serially  at  the 
same  time),  and  the  compiler  of  a  prayer  book  —  and  when  one 
remembers  that  he  fathered  the  Union  of  American  Hebrew 
Congregations,  the  Hebrew  Union  College,  and  the  Central 
Conference  of  American  Rabbis,  then  one  wonders  how  he  had 
the  time  to  devise  and  record  his  ingenious  theories,  and  the 
tenacity  to  stick  to  them.  He  had  neither  the  training  nor  the 
discipline  for  exact  and  lasting  scholarship. 

Yet  his  writings  on  Jesus  in  general,  and  the  incomplete 
"book"  which  we  have  surveyed  in  particular,  have  an  impor- 
tance which  transcends  by  far  their  lack  of  permanent  academic 
merit.  Wise  began  by  doubting  that  Jesus  ever  lived;  then,  as 
we  saw,  he  began  to  write  his  biography. 

Nineteenth-century  New  Testament  scholarship  among  Prot- 
estants was  aimed,  both  consciously  and  unconsciously,  at 
recovering  the  Jesus  of  history  and  at  placing  him  in  his  Jewish 
setting.  To  accomplish  this  meant  to  Wise's  Gentile  contem- 
poraries exactly  what  it  meant  to  Wise:  to  peel  off  layers  of 
legend  and  theology  and  to  restore  the  man.  Except  among  those 

355 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

Christians  and  Jews  who  made  a  Gentile  out  of  Jesus,  such  a 
reconstituted  man  was  plainly  and  simply  a  Jew.  It  seems  to 
me  justified  to  suggest  that,  at  the  time  Wise  was  denying  that 
Jesus  ever  lived,  he  was  negating  a  "Christian"  Jesus.  Once  the 
thought  came  to  him  that  Jesus  was  a  Jew,  Wise  not  only 
affirmed  his  existence,  but  made  him  the  protagonist,  indeed 
the  hero,  of  his  account. 

Truly,  for  Wise,  Jesus  was  a  noble  Jew  whose  only  mis- 
demeanor was  his  mistake  in  yielding  to  the  importunings  of 
Peter  and  the  other  disciples.  It  is  they  who  are  the  villains  to 
Wise  —  except  that  he  finds  an  even  greater  archvillain  when 
he  deals  with  the  apostolic  age  and  directs  his  attention  to  Paul. 

Wise,  however,  falls  short  of  something  which  later  Jewish 
writers,  both  scholars  and  dilettantes  alike,  endeavor  to  do.  In 
Wise  there  is  an  effort  merely  to  restore  the  Jewishness  of  Jesus; 
in  later  writers  the  quest  extends  to  reclaiming  Jesus  for  Judaism. 
Joseph  Klausner,  in  Jesus  of  Nazareth  (1922),  English  translation, 
p.  414,  does  some  reclaiming: 

.  .  .  Jesus  is,  for  the  Jewish  nation,  a  great  teacher  of  morality  and  an  artist 
in  parable.  ...  If  ...  this  ethical  code  be  stripped  of  its  wrappings  of 
miracles  and  mysticism,  the  Book  of  the  Ethics  of  Jesus  will  be  one 
of  the  choicest  treasures  in  the  literature  of  Israel  for  all  time. I4 

If  the  distinction  which  I  intend  between  restoring  and 
reclaiming  Jesus  is  clear  —  the  distinction  is  one  of  degree  and 
thereby  almost  one  of  kind  —  then  the  significance  of  Wise's 
writings  begins  to  emerge.  The  age-old  antipathy,  as  reflected 
in  the  travesties  on  Jesus,  as  in  Toledot  Teshu,  was  inconsistent 
with  an  age  of  enlightenment  and  broad  horizons.  Moreover, 
there  was  no  spiritual  or  physical  ghetto  in  the  United  States, 
and  Jews  and  Christians  lived  side  by  side  in  a  relatively  high 

x*  Klausncr  was  taken  to  task  by  Armancl  Kaminka  (pnn,  August,  1922)  for  the 
sentiments  quoted.  A  partial  translation  of  Kaminka's  sharp  criticism  is  to  be 
found  in  Harvard  Theological  Review  (January,  1923,  pp.  100—3). 

356 


ISAAC  MAYER  WISE'S  "  JESUS  HIMSELF" 

state  of  harmony  and  good  will.  Christianity  inevitably  intruded 
into  the  consciousness  of  Jews,  and  so  did  Jesus. 

Wise  wrote  as  he  did  because  he  was  Wise;  he  was  moved  so 
to  write  because  no  Jew  breathing  the  free  air  of  America  could 
refrain  from  coming  to  grips  in  some  way  with  Christianity  and 
with  Jesus.  Indifference  and  total  lack  of  contact  were  possible 
only  in  ghettos  where  medievalism  had  survived.  Wise  wrote 
because  he  had  to  write;  he  could  not  be  the  leader  of  an 
American  Jewish  community  and  not  do  so.  In  1876,  Max 
Schlesinger,  a  rabbi  in  Albany,  published  The  Historical  Jesus  of 
Nazareth\  in  the  same  year,  Frederic  de  Sola  Mendes  published 
Defence,  not  Defiance:  A  Hebrew* s  Reply  to  the  Missionaries. 

I  have  spoken  above  of  a  distinguished  work  by  the  Swedish 
scholar  Gosta  Lindeskog,  Die  Jesusfrage  im  neuzeitlichen  Judentum 
("The  Question  of  Jesus  in  Recent  Judaism")-  It  is  an  excellent 
summary  of  books  by  Jews  on  Jesus,  as  well  as  of  articles  appear- 
ing in  scientific  journals.  If  there  is  any  weakness  in  the  book, 
it  is  the  understandable  failure  to  include  the  sermons  and  the 
small  tracts  which  American  rabbis  produced  in  some  number. 
When  Klausner's  book  first  appeared  in  its  English  translation, 
another  Wise,  Stephen  S.  Wise,  reviewed  the  book  from  his 
pulpit  (December,  1925).  The  press  accounts  disclose  that  the 
sermon  was  a  "reclamation"  of  Jesus,  and  a  historic  storm  broke 
over  the  head  of  Stephen  Wise.  * s  It  is  this  kind  of  incident  and 
writing  which  is  lacking  in  Lindeskog. 

Joseph  Bonsirven,  a  French  priest  whose  book  Les  Jtdfs  et 
J&sus  was  published  in  1937,  addresses  himself  in  quite  good 
measure  to  the  sermons  and  tracts  of  American  rabbis;  in  fact, 
he  asks  whimsically  if  it  is  the  usual  practice  among  American 

xs  I  record  my  thanks  to  Rabbi  Albert  G.  Minda  for  giving  me  his  file  on  this 
affair.  It  is  a  good  collection  of  clippings  from  the  days  and  weeks  after  Wise's 
sermon.  An  account  of  the  matter  can  be  found  in  the  Review  of  Reviews,  LXXIII, 
203,  and  in  the  Christian  Century,  XLIII,  26. 

357 


SAMUEL  SANDMEL 

rabbis  to  publish  their  sermons.  He  mentions  the  Stephen  Wise 
matter  several  times.  Bonsirven  records  with  acknowledged 
pleasure  that  the  Jewish  attitude  towards  Jesus  has  undergone 
the  notable  change  from  disparagement  to  reclamation.  He 
says  somewhat  plaintively  (p.  213):  "J6sus,  ils  entendent  de 
tirer  chez  eux,  ils  ne  veulent  pas  venir  chez  lui"  (The  Jews  mean 
to  draw  Jesus  to  themselves,  they  do  not  want  to  come  to  him). 
The  impression  which  one  gets  from  Bonsirven  is  that  the 
reclamation  of  Jesus  is,  or  has  been,  a  matter  of  the  twenties 
and  thirties  of  this  century.  The  rabbis  whom  he  cites  include 
Hyman  G.  Enelow,  Abraham  J.  Feldman,  G.  George  Fox, 
Solomon  B.  Freehof,  Ephraim  Frisch,  Emil  G.  Hirsch,  Ferdinand 
M.  Isserman,  Joseph  Krauskopf,  Louis  I.  Newman,  Abram 
Simon,  Ernest  Trattner,  and  Stephen  Wise.  The  book,  then,  is 
weighted  towards  Bonsirven's  own  day  and  ours. 

The  fact  is,  however,  that  restoration,  or  even  reclamation, 
began  a  full  half  century  before  the  period  which  Bonsirven 
discusses.  No  one  has  yet  studied  in  detail  the  Jewish  "reclama- 
tion" of  Jesus.  It  could  well  make  a  fascinating  subject,  espe- 
cially if  one  went  away  from  the  highroads  which  Lindeskog 
maps  out  and  into  the  earlier  bypaths  of  the  American  con- 
gregational rabbis  and  their  minor  publications. 

Such  a  study  would  give  us  a  fuller  perspective  on  Isaac 
Mayer  Wise  and  his  approach  to  Jesus.  He  marks  a  significant 
chapter,  if  not  in  the  "reclamation"  of  Jesus,  at  least  in  his 
"restoration." 


358 


The  Temple  Emanu-El  Theological 
Seminary  of  New  York  City 


BERTRAM  W,  KORN 


It  is  with  a  feeling  of  profound  affection  and  gratitude 
that  I  share  in  this  academic  tribute  to  the  American 
Jewish  Archives,  and  to  its  founder  and  director.  Pro- 
fessor Jacob  R.  Marcus.  The  Archives  has  grown,  in  the 
brief  span  of  ten  years,  to  a  position  of  prestige  and 
usefulness  among  American  historical  resources,  pri- 
marily through  the  imagination,  skill,  and  inspiration  of 
its  Director.  With  single-minded  devotion  he  has  created 
a  climate  of  enthusiasm  for  the  collection  of  source  mate- 
rials in  the  field  of  Jewish  Americana,  for  the  study  and 
publication  of  the  results  of  research,  and  for  the  assess- 
ment of  the  experiences  of  the  Jews  and  of  their  heritage 
in  this  land.  May  the  Archives  continue  to  expand  and 
prosper  under  the  aegis  of  its  creative  Director,  my 
teacher  and  friend,  to  whose  guidance  I  owe  the  stimula- 
tion and  development  of  my  own  concern  with  research 
in  American  Jewish  themes. 


J.HE  FORTUNATE  discovery  of  the  minute  book  of 
the  Emanu-El  Theological  Seminary  Society  of  New  York  City 
(now  safely  deposited  in  the  American  Jewish  Archives)  makes 
it  possible,  with  far  more  accuracy  than  before,1  to  describe 
the  early  history  of  the  first  effort  to  create  a  Reform  theological 
seminary  in  the  United  States. 

Dr.  Bertram  Wallace  Korn  is  the  spiritual  leader  of  Reform  Congregation  Keneseth 
Israel,  Philadelphia,  Pa. 

1  Bertram  W.  Korn,  Eventful  Tears  and  Experiences  (Cincinnati,  1954),  160-61. 

359 


BERTRAM  W.  KORN 

American  Jewish  leaders  had  early  felt  the  necessity  of  creating 
a  Jewish  theological  seminary  in  America,  where  young  men, 
born  in  this  country,  might  be  trained  for  the  rabbinate.  Jewish 
congregational  officers  were  distressed  by  the  shortage  of  able 
rabbis,  and  even  the  few  capable  men  who  came  here  from 
abroad  with  the  requisite  knowledge  and  background  were  at 
an  obvious  disadvantage  in  seeking  to  meet  the  needs  of  con- 
gregations in  this  country.  Language  barriers  and  strange  new 
customs  were  difficult  obstacles  to  overcome.  Only  one  effort 
to  establish  an  American  Jewish  institution  of  higher  learning 
was  made  before  the  Civil  War;  Rabbi  Isaac  Mayer  Wise  of 
Cincinnati  founded  Zion  College  in  1855.  It  functioned  for  two 
years  as  a  school  for  the  study  of  the  humanities,  and  included  a 
department  of  Hebrew  and  Jewish  learning.  Wise  envisioned  its 
future  as  a  total  university  complex,  with  a  theological  seminary 
at  its  center.  Unfortunately,  Zion  College  survived  for  only 
two  years.  Geographic  jealousies  and  ineptitudes  in  leadership 
militated  against  its  success. 

After  the  Civil  War,  however,  when  civilian  energies  might 
once  again  be  directed  towards  peaceful  pursuits,  and  after 
Jews  in  the  North  had  gained  a  heightened  feeling  of  at-homeness 
in  America,  a  number  of  practical  attempts  were  made  to 
establish  a  rabbinical  school.  One  was  the  Philadelphia  plan, 
suggested  by  leaders  of  the  local  Jewish  community  and  sup- 
ported by  the  Board  of  Delegates  of  American  Israelites,  which 
eventuated  in  the  opening  of  Maimonides  College  in  Phila- 
delphia in  1867;  a  second  was  the  scheme  for  the  creation  of  a 
seminary  under  the  auspices  of  the  Independent  Order  of  B'nai 
B'rith,  which  was  abandoned  after  a  year  of  acrimonious  discus- 
sion; the  third  was  the  Emanu-El  proposal. 2 

Isaac  Mayer  Wise's  Zion  College  had  been  envisioned,  like 

a  For  a  fuller  description  of  the  early  history  of  the  seminary  movement  and  of 
the  activity  of  Maimonides  College,  see  Korn,  op.  cit.,  151-213. 

360 


TEMPLE  EMANU-EL  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY  OF  NEW  YORK 

his  Cleveland  Conference  of  Rabbis,  as  a  common  meeting- 
ground  for  traditionalists  and  Reformers;  Maimonides  College 
leaned  towards  the  traditional,  but  two  of  its  three  graduates 
became  Reform  rabbis;  the  B'nai  B'rith  seminary,  which  was 
to  become  the  core  of  an  eventual  Jewish  University,  was  also 
conceived  of  as  a  compromise  between  traditionalism  and 
liberalism.  But  the  Temple  Emanu-El  seminary,  characteris- 
tically, was  designed  to  train  only  Reform  rabbis,  under  the 
auspices  of  the  most  radical  of  the  Reform  congregations  in 
America. 

Broached  first  at  a  meeting  of  the  ritual  committee  of  Temple 
Emanu-El  on  May  5,  1865,  and  recommended  as  an  expression 
of  "thankfulness  to  the  Almighty53  for  the  cessation  of  war,3 
the  new  seminary  was  not  suggested  as  an  answer  to  the  needs 
of  the  total  Jewish  community,  but  rather  as  an  avenue  for  the 
extension  of  Reform  Judaism.  In  a  communication  sent  to  the 
members  of  Congregation  Emanu-El  summoning  them  to  a 
meeting  on  June  18,  1865,  to  discuss  the  proposal,  Rabbi  Samuel 
Adler  urged  the  creation  of  a  seminary  for  the  training  of  rabbis 
who  would  carry  out  the  work  of  Reform: 

He  that  is  a  Jew,  not  merely  in  name  but  from  conviction  and  with 
all  his  heart,  must  feel  deeply  interested  in  having  our  pure  religion 
freed  from  the  alloy  which  the  dark  ages  of  the  past  and  especially 
the  terrible  fate  of  our  ancestors  have  mingled  with  it  so  that  this 
purified  faith  may  extend  to  larger  circles  and  be  transmitted  to  our 
children  and  to  coming  generations.  In  this  land  of  liberty  we  ought 
not  only  to  enjoy  our  liberty  in  trade  and  commerce,  but  also  to 
retrieve  our  most  sacred  professions,  our  religious  confession  and  our 
religious  life  from  the  various  disfigurations  and  defects  which  are 
the  sad  inheritance  of  still  sadder  times.  Here  in  this  country  with  no 
interference  on  the  part  of  the  government  it  is  our  most  sacred  duty 
to  cause  Judaism  to  be  universally  respected  and  to  justify  the  predic- 
tion that  "our  religion  is  our  wisdom  and  our  understanding  in  the 
eyes  of  the  nations." 

a  Minute  Book,  i. 

361 


BERTRAM  W.  K.ORN 

But  in  order  to  bring  about  this  desirable  state  of  things  we  need  men 
endowed  with  thorough  knowledge  and  inspired  with  a  glowing  zeal 
for  their  calling,  men  who  have  devoted  their  lives  to  the  study  and 
the  spreading  of  the  law  .  .  .  theological  orators  who  can  preach  in  the 
English  tongue,  who  can  be  heard  and  understood  by  the  rising 
generation.  .  .  .4 

Adler  said,  in  his  letter,  that  no  tremendous  sum  of  money 
would  be  needed  to  create  the  new  seminary,  for  no  young 
men  were  available  to  enter  immediately  upon  theological 
studies.  The  only  pressing  requirement  was  the  creation  of  a 
preparatory  class  or  department;  a  small  sum  of  money  would 
guarantee  the  establishment  of  such  a  school.  Only  after  a 
number  of  years  would  it  be  necessary  to  create  a  full  seminary 
for  graduate  instruction. 

At  the  first  public  meeting  of  the  new  organization,  called 
the  Emanu-El  Theological  Seminary  Society,  on  June  18,  1865, 
twenty- three  gentlemen  joined  as  life  members  at  an  individual 
cost  of  $100,  and  seventy-five  agreed  to  contribute  $10  a  year 
as  annual  members.  A  board  of  seven  members  was  elected 
to  carry  on  the  work  of  the  Society,  and  a  set  of  bylaws  was 
adopted.  The  preamble  to  the  latter  indicated  the  awareness 
of  the  framers  that  the  founding  of  "a  fully  endowed  Jewish 
Theological  Seminary"  would  take  a  long  time;  for  the  present 
they  would  be  content  with  "the  assisting  ...  of  such  Jewish 
youths  as  wish  to  study  Jewish  Theology.35  The  bylaws  included 
a  number  of  significant  provisions:  "The  object  of  this  Institution 
shall  be  the  education  of  Jewish  youth,  on  the  basis  of  reform  .  .  . 
a  majority  of  the  board  shall  at  all  times  be  members  of  the 

Emanu-El  Congregation  of  the  City  of  New  York The 

minister  of  the  Temple  Emanu-El  be  at  all  times  ex  Officio  a 
member  of  the  Board  of  Trustees  but  not  to  have  a  vote."  The 
limited  character  of  the  Society  was  established  from  the  first. 
» 

« Ibid.,  2-4. 

362 


TEMPLE  EMANU-EL  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY  OF  NEW  YORK 

Not  only  was  its  objective  restricted  to  service  to  the  Reform 
movement,  but  its  control  was  to  be  vested  in  the  hands  of  one 
Reform  congregation. s 

It  is  doubtful  that  the  small  number  of  radical  Reform  con- 
gregations at  the  time  could  have  mustered  enough  energy 
and  enthusiasm  to  support  a  full-fledged  seminary  of  their 
own;  certainly  no  single  congregation,  whatever  its  enthusiasm 
or  substance,  could  succeed  in  carrying  out  so  ambitious  a 
project.  Although  the  membership  solicitation  proceeded  sat- 
isfactorily, to  the  extent  that  thirty-nine  life  members  and 
one  hundred  and  twenty  annual  members  had  been  enrolled 
by  the  time  of  the  first  annual  meeting  on  October  8,  i865,6 
the  Emanu-El  seminary  remained  a  paper  organization.  Public 
reaction  to  its  creation  was  altogether  wanting;  no  pupils  had 
responded  to  the  advertisements  offering  scholarships,  and  cir- 
culars which  appealed  to  other  Reform  congregations  throughout 
the  country  for  financial  support  and  for  recommendations  of 
students  drew  no  replies.7  There  was  no  planned  academic 
program;  no  faculty  members  had  been  appointed;  no  one 
person,  neither  Moses  Schloss,  the  president,  nor  any  board 
member,  nor  Rabbi  Adler  himself,  gave  any  indication  of  that 
kind  of  devotion  and  consecration  which  alone  would  serve  to 
attract  students  to  a  non-existent  institution. 

In  the  fall  of  1866,  two  students,  William  Rosenblatt  of 
Hartford,  and  Michael  Gohn  of  New  York  City,  matriculated 
at  Columbia  College  at  the  expense  of  the  Emanu-El  Society, 
and  studied  Hebrew  with  Isaac  Adler,  son  of  Rabbi  Adler, 
but  both,  for  unexplained  reasons,  abandoned  their  purpose 
within  a  year. 8 

*  Ibid.,  5-12. 

6  Ibid.,  13, 
^  Ibid.,  13-14. 

*  Ibid.,  25-26,  34. 

363 


BERTRAM  W.  KORN 

Meanwhile,  it  was  beginning  to  dawn  upon  the  leaders  of 
the  Society  that  other  Reform  congregations  would  give  no 
support  to  an  institution  named  for  and  dominated  by  one 
congregation.  Rabbi  David  Einhorn,  who  had  just  come  to 
New  York  from  Philadelphia,  was,  therefore,  invited  to  become 
an  honorary  member  of  the  board.  No  sooner  was  he  elected 
than  he  became  an  outspoken  leader  of  the  effort  to  broaden 
the  base  of  the  Society.  He  spoke  at  length  at  the  annual  meeting 
on  October  21,  1866.  Although  he  agreed  that  membership 
should  be  limited  to  Reform  Jews,  he  insisted  that  the  inclusion 
of  the  name  of  Temple  Emanu-El  in  the  title  of  the  Society,  and 
the  restriction  that  a  majority  of  board  members  be  affiliated 
with  that  congregation,  would  weaken  the  Society's  efforts.  He 
spared  no  words  in  his  frank  appraisal  of  the  failure  of  the 
Society: 

.  . .  Your  institution  exists  only  in  the  imagination;  you  have  a 
pretty  large  number  of  members,  an  excellent  Board  of  trustees, 
annual  meetings,  but  only  one  thing  is  wanting  —  the  Seminary; 
you  have  everything,  but  neither  teachers  nor  pupils.  We  have  just 
heard  of  the  existence  of  two  pupils,  but  these  are  waiting  for  a  Sem- 
inary as  for  the  Messiah.  Where  is  their  professor?  Dr.  Adler,  this  I 
know,  does  not  instruct  them.  Your  Seminary  is  a  still-born  child, 
because  the  noble  mother  that  bore  it  was  pleased  to  wear  a  too  tightly- 
laced  corset.  .  . . 9 

Einhorn's  plea,  coupled  with  the  obvious  disappointment  of 
other  leaders  at  the  moribund  state  of  the  Society's  affairs, 
created  enough  momentum  for  the  annual  meeting  to  authorize 
a  change  of  name.  At  a  meeting  held  on  November  15,  1866, 
the  board  approved  a  new  name,  The  American  Hebrew  College 
of  the  City  of  New  York.  Thereafter  memberships  were  solicited 
and  obtained  from  members  of  other  Reform  congregations  in 
the  city.  As  evidence  of  the  high  hopes  of  the  board  at  this 

»  Ibid.,  17-19;  Hebrew  Leader  (New  York),  October  26,  1866,  4. 
364 


TEMPLE  EMANU-EL  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY  OF  NEW  YORK 

time,  it  is  instructive  to  note  the  refusal  of  the  board  to  grant  a 
stipend  to  a  young  Hartford  boy  who  was  studying  at  the 
seminary  in  Breslau,  because  "we  intend  to  build  a  College 
here."10 

But  prospects  did  not  improve.  Although  the  new  name  was 
adopted  at  the  annual  meeting  of  1867,  and  Rabbis  Adler  and 
Einhorn  were  authorized  to  engage  "a  Professor  of  the  Hebrew 
Language"  at  a  cost  of  not  more  than  $150  a  year,  there  were 
still  no  definite  plans,  no  regular  courses  of  proposed  study,  and 
no  students.11  A  Mr.  Schnabel  was  engaged  as  instructor  in 
Hebrew  in  November,  1867, 12  but  the  minutes  fail  to  indicate 
that  any  pupils  enrolled  for  his  course.  By  May,  1868,  the  fate 
of  the  seminary  appeared  so  dismal  that  one  member  of  the 
board  offered  this  pessimistic  resolution: 

Whereas,  It  is  the  opinion  of  this  Board  that  the  welfare  of  this  society 
can  only  be  promoted  by  undaunted  exertion  on  our  part,  and 

Whereas,  From  the  experience  the  Board  has  had  for  the  past  two 
years,  we  find  that  there  are  at  present,  no  young  men  in  the  country 
who  will  devote  themselves  to  the  Jewish  Ministry,  therefore 

Resolved,  That  two  candidates  of  the  Jewish  Theology  shall  be 
procured  either  from  Europe  or  any  part  of  the  United  States,  for 
the  purpose  of  perfecting  themselves  in  their  theological  studies, 
combined  with  the  English  language  and  literature.  .  .  . I3 

So  quickly  had  the  members  of  the  Board  changed  their  minds 
about  the  prospects  of  the  seminary  that  they  gave  up  all  hope 
of  creating  a  school,  or  of  assembling  classes  of  students,  and 
now  would  be  content  to  find  two  candidates  anywhere  in  the 

"Ibid.,  25. 
11  Ibid.,  26,  28. 
Ia  Ibid.,  29. 
*  s  Ibid.,  32. 

365 


BERTRAM  W.  KORN 

world  who  had  already  begun  to  study  for  the  rabbinate  and 
would  be  willing  to  come  to  New  York  City.  Advertisements 
were  inserted  in  Jewish  papers  in  the  United  States  and  Europe 
"advising  all  persons  who  have  already  laid  the  foundation  to  a 
course  of  study  in  Jewish  Theology,  that  upon  application  to 
the  Hebrew  Theological  Seminary  of  New  York,  they  will  be 
transported  here,  at  the  cost  of  the  Society,  and  may  continue 
to  complete  their  studies  under  the  auspices  of  this  Society, 
whose  object  shall  also  be  to  procure  proper  situations  for  such 
candidates  on  completion  of  their  course  of  study."  I4 

Again  an  application  for  a  stipend  for  European  study  was 
rejected;  on  October  12,  1868,  the  board  refused  such  a  request 
by  Isaac  Schoenberg  of  Mainz.15  The  members  of  the  board 
stood  firm  in  their  determination  to  prepare  rabbis  for  the 
American  ministry  in  the  United  States,  rather  than  in  Europe. 
But  the  advertisements  achieved  no  result.  And  now,  apparently, 
recriminations  began.  The  secretary  gives  no  hint  of  the  reason, 
but  the  Society  was  formally  dissolved  on  November  10,  1869, 
after  another  year  of  failure,  and  reorganized  a  month  later, 
once  again  under  the  aegis  of  Temple  Emanu-EL  x  6  The  con- 
tributions which  had  been  made  by  members  of  other  Reform 
congregations  were  returned  to  them,  at  their  request,  ag- 
gregating a  total  of  $1,560.  There  had  probably  been  no  single 
cause  disrupting  The  American  Hebrew  College  of  the  City 
of  New  York,  but  a  combination  of  causes:  disappointment 
among  the  Emanu-El  leaders  that  there  had  not  been  an 
enthusiastic  influx  of  other  Reform  Jews  into  the  Society, 
disagreement  among  the  various  rabbis  over  suggested  proposals 
for  action,  disillusionment  of  non-members  of  Emanu-El  at  the 


33. 
34. 


366 


TEMPLE  EMANU-EL  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY  OF  NEW  YORK 

continuing  domination  of  the  board  by  leaders  of  Emanu-El, 
and  despair  of  any  practical  results  by  most  of  the  members. 

The  new  Society,  returned  to  the  matrix  of  Congregation 
Emanu-El,  failed  to  accomplish  anything  remarkable.  An  effort 
was  made  in  1870  to  establish  branch  societies  in  various 
cities,  but  only  two  congregations  responded,  and  the  idea  was 
dropped. z  7  The  Society's  funds  were,  in  a  moment  of  caution, 
transferred  to  the  treasury  of  the  congregation.  Finally,  at  a 
meeting  on  July  6,  1871,  the  board  adopted  the  concept  which 
it  had  resisted  since  1865:  the  financial  maintenance  of  American 
students  at  European  seminaries.18  One  hundred  and  fifty 
dollars  a  year  was  voted  to  Henry  Cohn  in  1871;  $350  a  year 
was  awarded  to  Emil  G.  Hirsch  in  i873;19  ^d  $J5°  a  Year  to 
Samuel  Sale  in  i874-20  (The  larger  amount  to  Hirsch  is  ex- 
plained probably  by  the  close  personal  relationship  which 
existed  between  Rabbi  Adler  and  Emil's  father,  Rabbi  Samuel 
Hirsch  of  Philadelphia.)  Other  applications  for  stipends  were 
considered;  some  were  rejected  because  of  lack  of  fitness  on  the 
part  of  students;  others  were  approved  as  the  years  went  by. 2I 
The  seminary  of  Temple  Emanu-El,  during  this  period,  never 
really  functioned  as  a  school.  It  was  not  until  about  1877,  under 
the  vigorous  leadership  of  Rabbi  Gustav  Gottheil,  Samuel 
Adler's  colleague  and  eventual  successor  in  the  Emanu-El 
pulpit,  that  the  Society  actually  created  a  preparatory  rabbinical 
seminary.  For  about  ten  years,  this  school  gave  preparatory 
training  to  rabbinical  students,  and  then  sent  them  for  further 
education  to  Europe  or  to  the  Hebrew  Union  College  in 

"  ibid.,  38, 41, 43. 

**Ibid.,  44. 
1 9  Ibid.,  49. 
10  Ibid.>  50,  52. 
» IML9  53-54. 

367 


BERTRAM  W.  KORN 

Cincinnati.  The  story  of  these  years  is  detailed  in  Richard 
GottheiPs  biography  of  his  father. a  2 

But  by  1877,  when  Temple  Emanu-El  established  a  genuine 
preparatory  school,  the  forces  of  moderate  Reform,  led  by  Rabbi 
Isaac  Mayer  Wise,  had  already  succeeded  in  creating  the  Union 
of  American  Hebrew  Congregations  and  its  proteg6,  the  Hebrew 
Union  College.  Too  late  —  on  October  26,  1875, to  be  exact  — 
some  three  weeks  after  the  Hebrew  Union  College  opened  its 
doors  in  Cincinnati,  Rabbi  Samuel  Adler  realized  that  the  only 
way  to  establish  a  viable  seminary  would  be  through  joint, 
completely  cooperative  action  by  a  group  of  congregations 
working  together  in  harmonious  and  idealistic  fashion.  His 
recommendation  that  Temple  Emanu-El  take  the  lead  in 
organizing  a  new  union  of  Reform  congregations,  primarily 
for  the  purpose  of  establishing  a  seminary,  had  been  too  long  in 
coming.23  Isaac  Mayer  Wise  had  already  done  this,  and  in 
such  a  way  as  to  gain  the  support  not  only  of  the  moderate 
Reformers,  but  also  of  liberal  traditionalists. 

It  was,  in  part,  this  organizational  problem  which  had 
defeated  Temple  Emanu-El.  The  pioneering  task  of  creating 
an  American  Jewish  seminary  was  too  big  for  any  one  con- 
gregation. Many  congregations,  with  all  the  imaginative  leader- 
ship which  they  could  muster,  would  be  needed  to  support 
such  an  institution  morally  and  spiritually,  as  well  as  financially. 
Of  even  greater  significance  was  the  lack  of  a  single  visionary 
mind  at  the  helm,  to  grapple  with  the  realistic  problems  of 
curriculum,  faculty,  students,  books,  and  the  hundred  and  one 
other  difficulties  which  assail  the  leader  of  an  educational 
undertaking.  Isaac  Leeser  had  played  such  a  role  at  the  inception 


"  Richard  Gottheil,  The  Life  of  Gustav  Gottheil.  Memoir  of  a  Priest  in  Israel  (Wil- 
liamsport,  Pa.,  1936),  48-59. 

as  Minute  Book,  54. 

368 


TEMPLE  EMANU-EL  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY  OF  NEW  YORK 

of  Maimonides  College;  his  death  soon  afterwards  doomed 
Maimonides  College  to  eventual  failure.  Isaac  Mayer  Wise  was 
this  single-minded  leader  in  Cincinnati;  the  success  of  the 
Hebrew  Union  College  was  in  direct  proportion  to  his  own 
tremendous  labors.  The  Temple  Emanu-El  people,  however, 
sought  to  establish  a  seminary  through  the  (at  best)  halfhearted 
efforts  of  laymen.  It  is  doubtful  if  Rabbi  Samuel  Adler  had  the 
temperament,  the  vigor,  and  the  imagination  to  carry  out  the 
heavy  responsibilities  of  creating  a  new  seminary  —  but  he  was 
never  even  given  the  chance !  His  name  was  added  to  the  board 
of  the  Emanu-El  Society  as  an  afterthought,  and  then  as  an 
ex-officio  member  without  the  right  to  vote. 

But  the  fundamental  occasion  (if  not  the  reason)  for  the 
failure  of  all  of  the  earliest  ventures  in  the  creation  of  an  Amer- 
ican Jewish  seminary  was  the  difficulty  of  attracting  young 
American  boys  to  rabbinic  careers.  Zion  College,  Maimonides 
College,  and  the  Emanu-El  seminary  collapsed  so  easily  and  so 
quickly  because  there  was  no  demand  for  the  sort  of  educational 
opportunity  which  they  offered.  It  required  a  tremendously 
effective  and  idealistic  leader  to  wheedle,  cajole,  and  persuade 
boys  to  undertake  the  arduous  studies  which  would  prepare 
them  to  assume  the  burdens  of  a  ministry  which  was,  at  this 
particular  juncture  of  American  Jewish  life,  especially  onerous 
and  difficult.  A  genuinely  able  president  or  dean  would  have 
inspired  young  men  with  a  vision  of  the  dramatic  opportunity 
which  was  theirs  to  serve  their  people,  their  faith,  and  their  God 
through  the  ministry.  Such  an  educator  would  have  been  able 
to  rescue  from  despondency  a  young  man  like  Henry  Cohn,  who 
had  the  integrity  to  write  this  pathetic  letter  to  the  Emanu-El 
Society  after  a  year  in  Berlin  as  the  first  Emanu-El  scholar  to  be 
sent  abroad: 


369 


BERTRAM  W.  KORN 


Berlin,  Dec[em]b[e]r  3rd,  1872, 
Moses  Schloss,  Esq. 
New  York 

Dear  Sir: 

Being  more  than  a  year  in  this  country  for  the  purpose  of  preparing 
myself  for  the  Jewish  ministry  and  having  been  sent  there  for  that 
object  by  "The  Emanu-El  Theological  Semfinary]  Ass[ociatio]n,"  I 
consider  it  my  duty  to  acquaint  you  with  the  present  state  of  my 
studies. 

Before  my  departure  for  Europe  I  was  well  aware  of  the  great 
difficulties  connected  with  the  study  of  the  Talmud  and  the  Rabbinical 
Literature.  I  was  convinced  that  these  studies  were  in  some  respects 
more  difficult  than  those  of  any  other  of  the  learned  professions.  But, 
notwithstanding  these  obstacles,  I  thought  that  with  the  proper 
perseverance  and  diligence  I  would  be  able  to  attain  my  object.  You 
have  received  the  reports  of  my  instructors  respecting  my  progress 
during  the  ist  term.  Encouraged  by  the  labor  which  I  had  expended 
on  my  studies,  they  believed  themselves  justified  in  advising  me  to 
proceed.  These  testimonials  gave  me  stronger  hopes.  I  began  the 
work  of  the  following  term  with  renewed  vigor,  yes,  I  can  say  I  worked 
even  more  diligently  than  during  the  first  session.  But  I  must  confess, 
to  my  sorrow  that  my  labor  was  not  crowned  with  that  success  which 
should  encourage  me  to  continue  the  study  of  Jewish  theology  any 
longer.  Now  at  the  end  of  a  year  on  looking  back  at  the  way  I  have 
passed  over  I  find  that  my  progress  was  unhappily  transient,  that 
the  results  gained  are  small  and  the  obstacles  to  be  overcome  [are] 
stupendous,  I  have  therefore  on  serious  consultation  with  my  instructors 
and  friends  come  to  the  conclusion  that  it  is  impossible  for  me  to 
attain  the  object  desired. 

I  regret  very  much  that  I  must  come  to  this  conclusion,  but  accord- 
ing to  my  view  of  the  case  it  is  my  duty  to  sacrifice  all  personal  consid- 
erations for  the  sake  of  our  sacred  cause.  It  is  not  enough  that  the 
ministers  in  Israel  be  enthusiastic,  they  must  also  be  men  of  superior 
mental  endowments,  men  who  are  at  all  times  able  to  grapple  with 
the  great  religious  and  social  questions  of  the  age.  In  America  espe- 
cially, where  there  are  ministers  who  are  by  no  means  fit  for  their 
calling,  such  men  as  I  have  before  mentioned  are  now  absolutely 
necessary.  I  feel  that  I  have  not  these  endowments,  and  my  experience 
in  Germany  has  convinced  me  beyond  all  doubt  that  diligence  alone 

370 


TEMPLE  EMANU-EL  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY  OF  NEW  YORK 

is  not  sufficient.  For  these  reasons  therefore,  I  have  come  to  the 
conclusion  that  I  would  serve  the  interests  of  Judaism  better,  if  I  do 
not  become  a  minister. 

I  hope  that  you  and  all  the  members  of  the  Association  will  after 
these  statements  not  consider  me  as  one  who  has  become  tired  of  the 
hard  work  and  consequently  gives  it  up,  but  as  one  whom  duty  and 
circumstances  over  which  he  has  no  control  compel  to  sever  himself 
from  that  which  is  dearest  to  his  heart.  Before  closing  my  letter  I 
must  thank  you  and  all  the  officers  and  members  of  the  society  for 
the  aid  granted,  and  wish  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart  that  very 
soon  such  Jewish  youth  will  be  found  who  are  in  all  respects  fitted 
to  be  the  mental  and  religious  guides  of  American  Judaism.  May  the 
pain  which  I  experience  myself  in  leaving  these  pursuits  atone  in 
some  measure  for  your  disappointed  hopes. 

I  remain, 

Yours  very  respectfully, 

HENRY  CoHN24 

All  this  is  not  to  say  that  the  Emanu-El  project  was  a  complete 
and  total  failure.  The  recognition  of  the  need  for  an  American 
seminary  which  impelled  the  leaders  of  the  Temple  to  create 
their  Society  was  a  positive  achievement;  the  collection  of  funds 
which,  eventually,  were  used  to  endow  scholarships  which 
enabled  American  Jewish  boys  to  study  at  European  seminaries 
was  a  positive  achievement;  the  gradual  awakening  of  public 
opinion  throughout  the  country  for  the  support  of  rabbinic 
training,  to  which  the  Emanu-El  Society  contributed,  was  a 
positive  achievement;  the  subsidization  of  the  rabbinic  education 
of  superior  leaders  like  Emil  G.  Hirsch  and  Samuel  Sale  was  a 
positive  achievement  —  indeed,  the  funds  of  the  Emanu-El 
Seminary  have  been  used  to  this  very  day  to  subvention  the 
rabbinic  education  of  young  men  at  the  Hebrew  Union  College  - 
Jewish  Institute  of  Religion  —  surely  a  lasting  contribution. 

3  <  47-49.  The  letter  closed  with  a  postscript  promising  to  repay  the  funds  granted 
to  him  and  requesting  a  further  loan,  which,  however,  was  refused. 

371 


The  Semikah 

of  the  Rev.  Dr.  Kaufmann  Kohler 

JOSHUA  BLOCH 


nn 


AHE  Rev.  Dr.  Kaufmann  Kohler  (1843-1926)  was 
me  of  the  great  American  Jewish  scholars  called  upon  to 
preside  over  the  affairs  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College*  A  prodi- 
gious and  prolific  scholar,  he  was  steeped  in  the  learning  and 
ore  of  his  people,  and  was  fully  at  home  in  the  literatures  and 
philosophies  of  the  Western  world,  ancient  and  modern.  When, 
n  1903,  he  assumed  the  presidency  of  the  Hebrew  Union 
Hollege,  he  brought  to  his  task  also  the  practical  knowledge 
md  experience  which  he  had  gained  through  a  long  career  in 
he  American  rabbinate.  Under  his  guidance,  the  educational 
md  administrative  practices  of  the  oldest  American  training 
chool  for  rabbis,  located  in  Cincinnati,  Ohio,  underwent 
nanifold  changes.  The  eighteen  and  a  half  years  of  his  admin- 
stration  comprise  in  the  history  of  that  institution  a  period 
narked  by  notable  achievements,  all  of  them  tending  to  raise 
he  standing  of  the  College,  in  the  world  of  Jewish  and  the- 
Jogical  scholarship,  and  to  elevate  the  position  which  it  occupied 
imong  American  institutions  of  higher  learning. 

Under  Kaufmann  Kohler' s  administration,  the  Hebrew  Union 
College  transferred  its  location  from  its  modest  building  on 
^Vest  Sixth  Street  to  the  imposing  structures  reared  on  the 
leights  (Clifton  Avenue),  in  close  proximity  to  the  University 

)r.  Joshua  Bloch,  former  librarian,  chief  of  the  Jewish  Division  of  the  New  York 
>ublic  Library,  passed  away  on  September  26,  1957. 

373 


JU&. 

of  Cincinnati.  Kohler  encouraged  the  growth  and  development 
of  the  College  library,  whose  resources  are  comparable  to  some  of 
the  best  collections  of  Jewish  and  related  literatures  anywhere 
else.  All  this  was  not  attained  without  a  determined  and  success- 
ful effort  to  gain  munificent-minded  friends  for  the  institution 
and  to  effect  exacting  changes  in  the  administrative  practices 
and  procedures,  especially  those  which  governed  the  admission 
of  students  and  the  raising  of  the  requirements  for  graduation* 
He  raised  the  academic  standards  of  the  College  by  systematizing 
its  curriculum,  by  introducing  into  it  a  number  of  new  courses, 
he  himself  taking  charge  of  some  of  them,  and  by  lengthening 
its  course  of  study  from  eight  to  nine  years,  the  first  four  of 
which  were  spent  in  its  Preparatory  Department,  followed  by 
another  four  years  in  its  Collegiate  Department.  The  ninth 
was  to  be  devoted  exclusively  to  post-graduate  studies. 

Moreover,  Kohler  also  proceeded  to  strengthen  the  faculty 
of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  by  augmenting  its  ranks  with 
men  whose  fame  in  the  world  of  scholarship  was  already  well- 
established.  In  the  course  of  time  he  added  several  younger 
men,  graduates  of  the  College.  The  first  of  them  was  Julian 
Morgenstern,  and  the  last  of  his  appointees  was  Jacob  Rader 
Marcus.  Both  of  these  men,  native  sons  of  this  blessed  land, 
have  attained  positions  of  well-merited  recognition  as  com- 
petent scholars  —  each  in  his  chosen  field  of  learning  —  and 
able  administrators.  As  Dr.  Kohler's  successor  in  the  presidency 
of  the  Hebrew  Union  College,  Dr.  Morgenstern  served  with 
distinction  from  1921  to  1947.  He,  too,  drew  from  the  ranks  of 
the  graduates  of  the  College  other  learned  men  who  have  like- 
wise served  on  the  faculty  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  with 
notable  success. 

Dr.  Jacob  R.  Marcus  has  achieved  wide  recognition  as  an 
expert  in  American  Jewish  history,  a  considerably  neglected 
field  in  Jewish  historiography.  As  the  energetic  founder  and 

374 


THE  SEMIKAH  OF  THE  REV.  DR.  KAUFMANN  KOHLER 

director  of  the  American  Jewish  Archives,  he  has  created  an 
institution  which  has  already  become  a  remarkably  rich  repos- 
itory of  papers  and  documents  whose  historical  value  cannot  be 
overestimated.  It  is  virtually  impossible  to  undertake  the  success- 
ful pursuit  of  research,  leading  to  the  historical  presentation  of 
any  aspect  of  American  Jewish  experience,  without  access  to 
the  resources  of  that  remarkable  institution. 

It  is  in  tribute  to  Dr.  Marcus  that  the  present  writer  offers 
for  publication  the  text,  with  facsimile  of  the  original  document, 
of  the  semikah,  the  rabbinical  diploma,  which  Dr.  Kohler 
received  at  the  hands  of  Dr.  Joseph  Aub,  eminent  rabbi  of 
Berlin.  The  use  of  this  document,  in  an  effort  to  honor  Dr. 
Marcus,  is  indeed  appropriate,  for  he  represents  the  last  of  the 
group  of  scholars  who  was  called  by  Dr.  Kohler  to  serve  on 
the  faculty  of  the  Hebrew  Union  College  and,  incidentally,  the 
only  one  of  those  whom  Kohler  called  out  of  the  ranks  of  those 
Hebrew  Union  College  graduates  whom  he  had  himself 
ordained.  Dr.  Marcus  carries  in  himself  much  of  the  spirit  and 
zeal  for  the  advancement  of  Jewish  learning  which  characterized 
Dr.  Kohler's  career  as  scholar,  teacher,  preacher,  and  admin- 
istrator. 

In  his  student  days,  when  Dr.  Kohler  lived  in  Berlin,  he 
found  Jewish  life  there  to  be  "frosty  and  uncongenial." x  Under 
the  circumstances,  it  was  natural  that  he  should  have  turned 
to  the  home  of  Dr.  Joseph  Aub,  who,  like  himself,  had  come  to 
the  great  northern  metropolis  from  his  native  Bavaria.  Though 
they  were  distantly  connected,  Dr.  Kohler's  uncle  having 
married  a  cousin  of  Dr.  Aub,  Kohler  complained  that  Aub 
"never  made  me  feel  at  home  in  his  house." 2  Apparently,  the 

1  See  Kaufmann  Kohler,  Studies,  Addresses  and  Personal  Papers  (New  York,  1931), 
P.  477- 
3  Ibid. 

375 


JOSHUA  BLOCK 

then  "frosty  and  uncongenial"  atmosphere  of  Berlin  was  not 
very  friendly  to  Dr.  Aub  himself.  His  Bavarian  accent  and 
other  considerations  contributed  to  the  fact  that  "he  was  no 
success  in  the  pulpit"  of  Berlin.  Dr.  Aub  thought  that  he  had 
come  there  to  pave  the  way  for  Dr.  Abraham  Geiger;  in  his 
witty  way,  Aub  told  Kohler,  "I  have  been  called  hither  as  the 
Moshiach  ben  Joseph  to  prepare  the  way  for  Dr.  Geiger,  the 
real  Moshiach.'5 

Almost  as  a  matter  of  course,  Kohler,  the  young  Bavarian 
student,  presented  himself  to  the  Bavarian  Rabbi  Aub  for 
examination  with  a  view  to  qualifying  for  a  career  in  the  rab- 
binate. When  Kohler  left  Berlin,  in  1869,  he  carried  with  him 
the  semikah)  the  rabbinical  diploma,  which  he  had  obtained  that 
year  from  Dr.  Aub.  The  eminent  Berlin  rabbi  was  well-satisfied, 
as  the  document  testifies,  with  the  results  of  the  examination  to 
which  he  had  subjected  his  Bavarian  coreligionist.  These  in- 
cluded satisfactory  answers  to  fourteen  ritual  questions  which 
had  been  submitted  to  Kohler.  "These  are  your  first  sheelot" 
Dr.  Aub  is  reported  to  have  said,  jokingly,  to  Kohler,  "and 
probably  also  the  last  you  will  have  to  answer."  3 


Text  of  the  Semikah  Conferred  upon  Dr.  Kohler 
by  Dr.  Aub,  Eminent  Berlin  Rabbi 


,crif?x:j  ^n  nwvV  os&n  TOK  taa  mra  ,onD  omaa 
*o  nt  px  jnrwn  sraa  warn  asnx  axa  tf?o  rrhm*  itom  >n  to  VTO 
atom  inx  viwa  wn  .-warn  srraai  a»»m  isix  ITS  ,Dvrt»Kn  n^a  DK 
ntoip  ^vina  ny^n^p  nvb  •'an  nann  p  n^va  ^3*1  Tarom  Tp1 

pa  16  ara  ora  TO  inny  n»a  *»D 


3  Rid.,  p.   1/8. 

376 


THE  SEMIKAH  OF  THE  REV.  DR.  KAUFMANN  KOHLER 


Facsimile  of  the  Original  Semikah 


/f  A          0          V  ~^  rl  *  t 

<o*  C.-M  ^i«  /^»-it  «*f«%A  ^<<7««  V/^  <^W»     /^4tM/  -"f£>i  ">?«»  XH**  *w^  I**'1* 

A7  ^'  4»jr/2«^  ^/</.A  /-M  -»^  ?i^  <wiC<  iJt^    O..  A«  CJ 


377 


JOSHUA  BLOCK 


nra  na*  parf?  ,na:>nn  Vip  VK  ^Dttrf?  itm  nnsn  irtn  ,pwaa  nsnai 
>n  nw  trip  ntp  fan»  rmsn  isaa  ran  rfn  ,anrm  CNDM 


nra  snn  firaan  naiai  nipaa  m^a  nap  nasn  nap  ^^sn  K^a  sna 

,aioa  mnai  ma  owa  msn^  *inaanV  nanp  iK»n 
nm  ,*]T  ^?a  noiaa  parmVi  njmn  as^a  mmn 

na^na  i1*  ^  trn  lanaV  pa  ]an  Vr  rawn  TO  *?s?i 

n^iaa  onai  a^n1?  sni11  ,iV  an 
Kin  *n*n  'pK'i^a  D^^  nxn  .TO  na&aa  ^  nnattn  na*rV  mns 
^  .naanai  n*nna  o^awam  n^aiaan  D^a^n  ^KI  nK 
^v  min  nna  pjn  r^yaa  ai»  snaa  ^nVa^  orrnirrnKa 
n«  KnpV  .nnssn^i  rhnrh  iatr?V  Tiaa  nnV  n^Vn^p  tfwa  n  7nan 

n»a  *an  nnnn  )a  o^t^a  ^nn  in  imia  BW  ^rwa 

n»  ^K^^  *»aa  la^nK  riK  nmn1?  ^  pK  ••wrnn  m  ^n^nnn  T»  ,T^ 
mar  Vy  larti  o^np  JKS  nr")  nrn1?  iniK  nna*»  OK  WK  ,na 
o^aann  !?aa  tmo   pT1   pT 
'n  HKT  t^ian  ^»a  ^a  roia 


pn 


HOD 


na-r  . 


ns> 


*»m 


rron 


wnwi 


p  >JOT» 
trann  anaa 


378 


Bernhard  Felsenthal's  Letters  to  Osias  Schorr 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 


-f\MONG  the  many  interesting  items  in  the  Felsenthal 
Collection  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society  is  the 
correspondence  between  Bernhard  Felsenthal  (1822-1908),  the 
German-born  Chicago  Reform  Rabbi,  and  Osias  Schorr  (1814?- 
1895),  tbe  great  Galician  Jewish  scholar.1  The  correspondence 
was  evidently  initiated  by  Felsenthal2  in  1875  and  continued 
intermittently  until  1890.  It  consists  of  thirty  letters,  twenty- two 
by  Schorr3  and  eight  by  Felsenthal.4  We  must  also  note  that 
Felsenthal  did  not  preserve  all  his  correspondence  with  Schorr. 
For  example,  on  the  margin  of  a  letter  from  Schorr  dated  May  8, 
1890,  he  merely  noted  in  German  that  the  above  letter  had 
been  answered  on  June  19,  i8go.s  We  present  herewith,  in  an 

Dr.  Ezra  Spicehandler  is  Associate  Professor  of  Hebrew  Literature  at  the  Hebrew 
Union  College  -Jewish  Institute  of  Religion  in  Cincinnati, 

Rabbi  Theodore  Wiener  is  in  charge  of  acquiring  and  cataloging  Hebrew  books  at 
the  Hebrew  Union  College  Library  in  Cincinnati. 

1  For  an  analysis  of  the  significance  of  the  Felsenthal  collection,  see  Adolf  Kober, 
"Jewish  Religious  and  Cultural  Life  in  America  as  Reflected  in  the  Felsenthal 
Collection,"  Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society,  XLV  (1955), 
93-127.  The  problem  of  the  exact  date  of  Schorr's  birth  is  discussed  in  letter  G, 
note  52.  In  1897  Felsenthal  sent  a  copy  of  his  correspondence  to  Nehemiah  S. 
Libowitz,  who  planned  to  write  a  book  on  Schorr.  This  set  is  now  hi  the  possession 
of  the  Jewish  section  of  the  New  York  Public  Library. 

*  The  first  letter  in  the  present  collection  is  by  Schorr,  but  he  refers  to  a  previous 
letter  which  was  sent  by  Felsenthal  and  which  dealt  with  Schorr's  article  on  the 
derivation  of  the  names  of  rabbis,  Hechalutz  IX  (1873),  Part  I,  1-83. 

s  The  Schorr  letters,  in  Hebrew,  are  in  the  Hebrew  Union  College  Annual,  XXVIII 
(1957),  cited  hereafter  as  HUCA. 

4  Not  7  as  Kober  implies. 

s  See  also  Manuscript  No.  29  and  the  Schorr  letters  in  HUCA,  XXVIIL  Schorr 
in  his  correspondence  alludes  to  the  following  letters  which  are  lost:  August  II, 

379 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

English  translation,  the  major  portions  of  FelsenthaPs  eight 
letters  to  Schorr. 

Osias  (Joshua  Heschel)  Schorr,  a  leading  figure  in  the  second 
generation  of  the  Galician  Haskalah^  was  associated  with 
distinguished  Jewish  scholars  like  Isaac  Erter,  Samuel  David 
Luzzatto,  Abraham  Geiger,  Nachman  Krochmal,  Leopold  Zunz, 
Marcus  Jost,  and  Moritz  Steinschneider.  He  was  the  editor  of  a 
radical  Reformist  Hebrew  annual,  Hechalutz,  which  appeared 
irregularly  from  1851  to  1888.  Among  the  contributors  to  the 
early  volumes  of  Hechalutz  were  Abraham  Geiger,  Isaac  Erter, 
Moritz  Steinschneider,  and  Nachman  KrochmaPs  son,  Abraham. 
The  Reformist  ideas  of  these  early  volumes  influenced  many 
Eastern  European  maskilim  and  had  a  decided  effect  upon  the 
religious  views  of  men  like  Moses  Loeb  Lilienblum  and  Judah 
Loeb  Gordon. 

The  fact  that  Hechalutz  was  circulated  in  the  United  States 
among  a  number  of  leading  Reform  rabbis  is  most  significant. 
Eastern  European  Reformist  ideas  had  a  share  in  the  shaping 
of  American  Reform  Judaism,  and  Hechalutz  was  one  of  the 
many  links  with  the  Eastern  European  Reformism.  Felsenthal 
acted  as  Schorr's  distributor  in  the  United  States.  We  know 
that  Samuel  Adler,  Benjamin  Szold,  and  Kaufmann  Kohler 
subscribed  to  Hechalutz,  as  did  a  number  of  other  rabbis.6a 

1875;  May  15, 1878;  November  17,  1878;  Purim  1880  and  18  Adar,  1880;  February 
14,  1884;  April  22,  1884;  September  8,  1886;  and  September  n,  1887. 

6  See  Joseph  Klausner,  Hafdstoria  Shel  Hasifrut  Haivrit  Hahadasha  (2nd  ed.;  Tel  Aviv, 
1953),  IV,  56-57. 

6a  A  list  of  rabbis  in  Felsenthal's  band  appears  on  the  bottom  of  a  postal  card 
which  Schorr  sent  to  him  on  August  20,  1879.  In  all  likelihood,  it  is  a  list  of  actual 
or  potential  subscribers  to  Hechalvtz,  since  Schorr  specifically  requests  that  Felsenthal 
inform  him  as  to  the  number  of  copies  of  Volume  XI  which  he  requires.  The  names 
listed  are: 

Sonneschein  [Solomon;  see  note  39],  Gersoni  [Henry  (1844-1897),  Jewish 
Encyclopedia,  V,  641],  Adler  [Liebmann;  see  note  41],  Eliassof  [Herman  (1849-1918), 
Universal  Jewish  Encyclopedia,  IV,  69],  Felsenthal  [Bernhard],  Spitz  [Moritz;  see 

380 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAL'S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

Adolf  Kober  has  published  the  most  interesting  excerpts  of 
one  of  the  Felsenthal  letters  (Letter  E)  in  the  original  German. 7 
Kober's  transcription,  however,  contains  a  few  errors,  which 
for  the  most  part  may  be  attributed  to  FelsenthaPs  unclear 
German  hand.  Felsenthal's  comments  on  the  American  Jewish 
scene  and  his  evaluation  of  his  colleagues  give  us  a  picture  of  the 
contemporary  rabbinic  world. 

Much  of  the  correspondence  discusses  the  problem  as  to 
whether  male  proselytes  should  be  circumcised.  This  was  a 
major  problem  then  confronting  the  American  rabbinate.  At 
the  Philadelphia  Conference  of  Reform  rabbis  in  1869,  a 
lengthy  debate  ensued  on  this  subject.  Isaac  M.  Wise  and 
Samuel  Hirsch  took  the  radical  position  that  circumcision  was 
not  required,  while  Kaufmann  Kohler  and  David  Einhorn 
upheld  a  more  traditional  point  of  view.  No  final  decision  was 
made.  Although  Felsenthal  participated  in  the  Philadelphia 
Conference,  his  opinion  on  this  subject  is  not  recorded. 8  In 
1878,  however,  Felsenthal  was  deeply  engaged  with  this  prob- 
lem. Contending  that  circumcision  of  proselytes  was  not  re- 
quired, he  wrote  a  pamphlet  and  three  articles  on  the  subject. 9 
He  sent  the  pamphlet  to  Schorr,  and  an  exchange  of  letters  on 
circumcision  followed.  Schorr  published  one  of  his  letters  to 

note  40],  J.[ames]  K.[oppel]  Gutheim  [(1817-1886),  Universal  Jewish  Encyclopedia, 
V,  134],  Hahn  [Aaron,  Jewish  Encyclopedia,  IV,  118],  Hirsch  [Samuel;  see  note 
32],  Jastrow  [Marcus;  see  note  33],  Szold  [Benjamin;  see  note  26],  Hiibsch  [Adolph; 
see  note  23],  Gottheil  [Gustav;  see  note  30],  S.[amuel]  Adler  [see  note  22],  [Max] 
Schlesinger  [of  Albany],  Mayer  [Lippman  (1841-1904),  Universal  Jewish  Encyclopedia, 
VII,  424]  (of  Pittsburgh),  Morais  [Sabato  (1823-1897),  Universal  Jewish  Encyclopedia, 
VII,  638],  A.[bram]  S.[amuel]  Isaacs  [(1852-1920),  Universal  Jewish  Encyclopedia, 
V,  5951. 
i  Kober,  123-26. 

*  Protokolle  der  Rabbiner  Conferenz  abgehalten  zu  Philadelphia    (New  York,    1870), 
pp.  39-41,  61-63. 

*  See  the  bibliography  in  F,mma  Felsenthal,  Bernhard  Felsenthal,  Teacher  in  Israel 
(New  York,  1924),  pp.  310-11. 

381 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

Felsenthal  as  an  article  in  Hechalutz  (XI  [1880],  67-74).  At 
the  second  meeting  of  the  Central  Conference  of  American 
Rabbis,  in  Baltimore  (1891), I0  this  question  was  again  discussed 
in  great  detail.  A  long  paper  by  Felsenthal  was  included  in  the 
minutes  of  the  Conference. J I 

In  presenting  the  Felsenthal-Schorr  correspondence  we  have 
omitted  one  letter,  the  last  (dated  June  6,  1887),  because  it 
has  no  historical  significance.  We  have  also  taken  the  liberty  of 
deleting  or  abridging  many  of  the  parallelisms  and  euphuisms 
of  the  flowing  Haskalah  Hebrew.  These  appear  today  to  be 
equally  outlandish  in  English  and  in  Hebrew.  We  express  our 
deep  thanks  to  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society,  partic- 
ularly Rabbi  Isidore  S.  Meyer,  for  the  many  courtesies  extended 
to  us  and  for  releasing  these  letters  for  publication. 

LETTER  A 
(Hebrew) 

With  God's  help,  Monday,  20  Elul,  5635,  according  to  the 
Jewish  Calendar. 

Here  in  Chicago,  September  20,  1875. 
Salutations x  2 

Believe  me  when  I  say  that  for  many  years  my  ears  have  been 
opened  to  hear  the  words  of  wisdom  and  understanding  which 
you  have  published.  As  an  unabashed  disciple,  I  declare  publicly 
that  your  words  are  torah  and  I  needs  must  study  them.  I 
earnestly  pray  that  you  will  continue  to  publish  your  great  and 

10  Centred  Conference  of  American  Rabbis  Tear  Book,  II  (1892),  66-128. 
**Ibid.,  pp.  86-95. 

"  This  word  will  henceforth  signify  the  deletion  of  the  lengthy,  euphuistic  greetings 
which  opened  the  Hebrew  letters  of  the  period. 

382 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAI/S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

important  works  of  scholarship  which  are  spiritually  delighting. 
May  He  who  dwells  on  high  lengthen  your  days  and  fill  them 
with  goodness  and  well-being,  and  may  He  strengthen  your 
hands  so  that  you  may  guard  the  vineyard  of  Jewish  knowledge, 
plow  it,  stone  it,  plant  it  with  good  grapes  and  cause  them  to 
ripen  therein,  as  Scripture  says:  "And  He  shall  renew  thy 
youth  as  an  eagle."  May  you  broaden  Jewish  scholarship  and 
deepen  the  knowledge  of  the  Torah  so  that  the  glory  of  Jeshurun 
be  made  great  and  mighty  in  the  eyes  of  our  people. 

I  was  not  aware,  sir,  that  the  scholar  Kirchheim  had  published 
a  criticism  of  your  article  in  Hechdutz  concerning  Talmudic 
names. x  3  Where  does  it  appear?  I  was  likewise  unaware  until 
now  that  you  had  published  a  supplement  to  Vol.  IX  as  a 
part  of  Hechalutz.  Please  do  not  withhold  this  supplement  from 
me I4 

You  have  informed  me  that  you  are  busy  at  present  composing 
the  articles  intended  for  the  tenth  volume.15  What  good  news! 
I  hope  that  we  shall  soon  rejoice  at  the  sight  of  these  new  articles 
by  the  wise  chalutz  [pioneer]16  to  whom  no  contemporary 
scholar  in  Israel  is  equal.  Indeed,  who  can  be  compared  to 
him  and  who  can  penetrate  so  profoundly  the  depths  of  the 
Talmud  and  make  its  hidden  and  difficult  passages  so  clear? 
Who  is  like  unto  him,  who  knows  how  to  remove  the  false  and 
mendacious  mask  from  the  face  of  flatterers  and  to  reveal  to 
the  lovers  of  true  wisdom  how  mean  and  despicable  is  the 
proffered  wisdom  of  those  whom  the  unenlightened  and  the 

J3  Schorr's  article  appeared  in  Hechalutz  IX  (1873),  Part  1, 1-83,  and  was  reviewed 
by  Raphael  Kirchheim  (1804-1889),  the  German  Jewish  scholar,  in  Hashachar,  V 
(1874),  104-109.  For  biographical  data  on  Kirchheim,  see  Encyclopaedia  Judaica, 
X,  10. 

1  4  Further  entreaties  are  deleted. 

15  The  reference  is  to  Hechalutz. 

16  I.  e.,  Schorr. 

383 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

uneducated  consider  to  be  scholars.  Who  can  bring  glory  to 
himself  by  proclaiming  bravely  within  the  camp  of  Israel: 
"My  people,  your  trusted  ones  mislead  you,  and  your  pious 
men  destroy  your  paths  and  cause  you  to  stumble"? 

Before  concluding,  may  I  ask  one  more  favor  of  you,  honored 
sir,  namely,  please  send  the  undersigned  without  delay  whatever 
books  you  shall  henceforth  publish,  via  the  post.  I  shall  not,  of 
course,  delay  paying  you  for  them  by  postal  check  or  in  some 
other  manner. 

I  am  your  servant,  who  admires  and  honors  you  for  your 
great  merit  and  who  beseeches  the  Almighty  to  inscribe  you  in 
the  book  of  good  life  ---- 

LETTER  B 

(Hebrew) 

Chicago,  26  February,  1878. 
Greetings  to  you  and  to  all  in  your  company,  honored  sir. 

May  the  work  of  your  hands  be  blessed  with  success.  You  de- 
lighted me  with  your  dear  letter  of  February  5th,  which  reached 
me  today.  I  therefore  shall  not  delay  my  answer  even  one  day, 
but  thank  you  for  the  mark  of  honor  which  your  letter  signifies. 
I  was  especially  happy  when  I  read  your  lines  and  learned  that 
the  small  brochure  which  I  sent  you  (small  in  size  and  in 
quality)  I7  found  favor  in  your  eyes.  And  now,  sir,  if  you  say  at 
the  opening  of  the  letter  which  you  sent  me,  "I  shall  not  deny 
that  you  have  not  told  me  anything  new,"  be  assured  that  I 
was  aware  of  this  fact  even  before  sending  my  article  to  you. 

Who  am  I  to  pretend  that  I  am  able  to  say  anything  new  in 
Jewish  scholarship  to  a  personage  as  important  and  as  exalted 


brochure  to  which  Felsenthal  refers  is  %ur  Proselytenjrage  im  Judentkum 
(Chicago,  1878). 

384 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAL>S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

as  yourself?  Indeed,  for  many  years  I  have  well  known  that  the 
author  of  Hechalutz  (may  the  Lord  preserve  and  lengthen  his 
days  and  prosper  his  ways)  is  in  our  time  the  greatest  of  giants, 
a  veritable  Sinai  and  uprooter  of  mountains.  The  light  of  his 
honor  shines  as  the  brightness  of  the  firmament,  reveals  the 
hidden  treasures  of  the  sages  (may  their  memories  be  blessed), 
and  casts  light  on  the  dark  places  in  the  Talmudim  [traditional 
expositions  of  Jewish  civil  and  religious  laws]  and  Midrashim 
[traditional  homiletical  exegesis  of  the  Bible],  Behold,  I  stand 
before  you  as  a  disciple  who  drinks  in  your  words  thirstily.  But 
God  forbid  that  I  should  ever  presume  to  be  able  to  teach  you. 
If  I  sent  you  a  copy  of  my  article  immediately  after  it  came  off 
the  press,  I  did  so,  not  as  a  teacher  who  reveals  new  facts  to 
you,  but  rather  as  a  pupil  who  wishes  to  show  his  teacher  how 
honored  and  exalted  he  is  in  his  eyes. 

I  read  your  comments  on  my  article  over  and  over  again, 
and  I  am  grateful  to  you  with  all  my  soul  for  correcting,  out  of 
the  goodness  of  your  heart,  a  number  of  errors  and  for  filling  in 
certain  omissions  in  my  small  brochure.  I  quoted  the  baraitha 
concerning  "A  proselyte  who  was  circumcised  but  not  immersed 
etc.,35  as  I  found  it  in  our  Talmud  (Tevamoth  46).  I  confess 
unabashedly  that  I  was  unaware  until  now  of  the  fact  that  the 
version  in  the  Babylonian  Talmud  is  corrupt,  and  that  the 
correct  version  appears  in  the  Jerusalem  Talmud,  Kiddushin.  I 
also  confess  that  the  other  corrections  which  you  made  are  right 
and  correct.  And  now  I  have  one  request  to  make  of  you,  and  I 
pray  you  not  to  refuse  it,  namely,  study  my  article  which 
I  published  not  long  ago  and,  in  the  eleventh  volume  oiHechalutz, 
render  a  just  opinion  as  to  its  value.  Correct  whatever  is  distorted 
in  my  brochure.  Fill  in  the  omissions  and  straighten  it  out  as 
you  see  fit,  for  at  least  the  subject  about  which  I  spoke  is  of 
utmost  importance.  Let  there  be  criticism;  whatever  you  say 
critically,  whether  in  chastisement  or  in  mercy,  shall  be  for  me 

385 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

words  of  pleasure  and  delight.  All  your  readers  will  rejoice  in 
them  as  one  rejoices  over  a  great  find. 

About  two  weeks  ago  I  sent  Professor  Graetz  in  Breslau  a 
short  note  on  my  article  so  that  he  might  print  the  note  in  his 
journal.18  I  must  admit  that  Graetz  does  not  find  favor  in  my 
eyes  because  he  seems  to  prefer  to  accept  the  impossible  and 
reject  the  possible.  He  inclines  to  distort  what  is  straight  and 
never  ceases  heaping  distorted  conjectures  pile  upon  pile, 
conjectures  which  flounder  wildly  in  the  air  and  have  no 
basis  whatever.  Nevertheless,  what  could  I  do?  I  wanted  to 
place  before  the  European  scholars  the  problem  of  accepting 
proselytes  into  Judaism,  and  where  can  one  do  that?  Geiger  is 
no  more.  Low  is  no  more.  There  is  hardly  a  single  straight- 
forward man  among  all  the  rabbis  of  Germany  who  has  no 
particular  ax  to  grind.  Few  are  the  men  of  attainments,  the  men 
of  truth.  We  sorely  miss  those  that  are  gone !  May  the  Blessed 
One  preserve  the  lives  of  those  people  who  still  walk  the  honest 
paths  and  mount  the  heights  of  truth  and  righteousness. 

And  now,  I  should  like  to  take  up  another  matter.  The  dear 
present  which  you  sent  to  me  in  October,  1875,  namely,  An 
Answer  to  the  Criticism  of  Rabbi  Kirchheim>  * 9  I  received,  and  I 
immediately  wrote  to  you,  dear  sir,  informing  you  that  the 
book  arrived  and  offering  you  my  thanks.  From  your  last  letter, 
however,  it  appears  that  this  letter  did  not  reach  you.  I  regret 
this  very  much,  and  I  am  saddened  by  the  thought  that  perhaps 
the  honored  gentleman  J.  H.  S.*°  in  Brody,  who  has  done  me 
the  honor  of  sending  me  this  book,  would  suspect  me  of  bad 
manners  and  of  evilheartedness  because  I  was  silent.  Please  do 


1 8  Monatssckrift  fur  Geschichte  und  Wissenschaft  des  Judenthums  (Krotoschin,  1878), 
XXVII,  236-40. 

x»  The  answer  is  to  part  II  of  Vol.  IX  (1873)  of  Heckalutz. 
ao  Joshua  Heschel  Schorr. 
386 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAL'S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

not  think  so,  dear  sir.  Believe  me  if  I  assure  you  that  at  that 
time  I  hastened  to  answer  your  letter  and  often  wondered  why 
I  did  not  hear  from  you  any  more,  why  even  a  few  lines  from 
you  no  longer  reached  me.  I,  on  my  part,  shall  willingly 
approach  you  at  any  time  and  shall  not  neglect  to  send  you  a 
letter  if  I  have  reason  to  do  so. 

In  your  last  letter  you  also  informed  me  that  the  tenth  volume 
of  Hechalutz  has  already  been  published.  This  was  news  to  me, 
and  it  was  pleasant  to  hear  it.  Do  not  delay  sending  me  a  copy, 
sir;  I  will  pay  whatever  price  you  specify  and  shall  also  distribute 
copies  among  my  acquaintances,  selling  them  to  whoever  would 
wish  to  bring  such  delicacies  into  their  home.  Please  send  me 
six  copies,  and  I  shall  certainly  sell  them  in  my  town  without 
too  much  difficulty.  I  shall  do  so  with  a  willing  heart.  If  you 
wish,  send  me  ten  or  twelve  copies  and  I  will  do  whatever  I  can 
to  sell  them  for  you.  If  you  wonder  what  is  the  most  secure 
method  to  send  the  magazines,  I  really  do  not  know  the  proper 
answer.  Perhaps  it  is  best  to  send  them  via  the  post. 

Hurry,  dear  sir,  and  honor  me  with  your  answer  and  fulfill 
my  desire  with  reference  to  my  request  concerning  the  new 
issue  of  Hechalutz.  I  fondly  hope  that  you  will  find  these  words 
sent  by  an  unimportant  man  such  as  myself,  who  dwells  in  a 
distant  land  on  the  shore  of  Lake  Michigan  in  the  land  of 
America,  acceptable.  Indeed,  distance  does  not  prevent  me 
from  being  close  to  you  in  ideas  and  thoughts. 

I  am  your  servant,  who  honors  you  and  is  honored 
with  your  friendship.  .  .  . 

This  issue*1  also  testifies  that  you  still  know  how  to  take  up 
the  whip  of  satire  as  you  did  in  earlier  years,  and  to  lift  it  up 

«  Of  Hechalutz. 

387 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

against  your  opponents  in  such  a  wonderful  way.  Who  can 
stand  before  you  when  you  go  forth  to  the  battle  of  Torah  and 
wisdom,  magnificently  clad  in  the  garment  of  the  spirit  of  satire 
and  armed  with  your  sharpened  spirit?  Who  can  stand  before 
you  when  you  go  forth  to  tread  upon  the  hypocrites,  the  pietists, 
and  the  unlearned? 

P.  S.  You  have  remarked,  sir,  that  according  to  the  version 
of  the  bardtha  in  the  Jerusalem  Talmud,  Kiddushin  III  114, 
"Rabbi  Joshua  says:  cEven  immersion  prevents.5  "  I  do  not  have 
a  copy  of  the  Jerusalem  Talmud  and  therefore,  for  the  time 
being,  I  do  not  know  if  I  can  base  my  words  on  those  of  Rabbi 
Joshua  when  I  say:  "A  proselyte  who  was  immersed  but  was 
not  circumcised  is  nevertheless  a  proselyte."  Is  it  true  that  this 
basis  is  now  destroyed?  But  two  generations  after  R.  Joshua, 
Rabbi  Judah  bar  Ilai  comes  and  disputes  R.  Jose  bar  Chalafta 
who  said:  "We  require  two  things,  circumcision  and  immersion. 
But  he,  R.  Judah,  requires  either  one  or  the  other.3'  He  said,  in 
definite  and  clearly  understood  words:  "One  is  sufficient" 
(Tevamoth  46b).  And  now,  if  R.  Judah  has  decided  and  said 
that  one  is  sufficient,  why  shall  we  now  say  that  even  according 
to  R.  Joshua  one  is  sufficient?  Be  it  as  it  may,  the  matter  does 
not  depend  upon  the  words  of  any  of  the  Talmudic  sages.  If 
it  is  good  and  useful  to  receive  proselytes  without  placing  the 
sign  of  the  covenant  on  their  flesh,  then  the  enlightened  men  of 
our  day  will  propose  a  new  halachah  [a  traditional  law]  and 
will  carry  it  out,  even  if  the  sages  of  days  gone  by  have  unan- 
imously affirmed:  "He  cannot  be  a  proselyte  unless  he  is  cir- 
cumcised and  immersed." 


388 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAI/S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

LETTER  G 
(German) 

Chicago,  March  19,  1878. 
Mr.  O.  H.  Schorr  in  Brody. 

Dear  Sir: 

You  probably  have  received  my  letter  addressed  to  you  about 
three  weeks  ago.  In  the  meantime,  I  have  written  to  a  number 
of  friends  and  colleagues  in  different  parts  of  the  Union,  asking 
them  whether  they  would  not  like  to  own  Volume  10  ofHechalutz. 
So  far  I  have  received  twelve  orders.  One  of  my  colleagues, 
Dr.  S.  Adler22  of  New  York,  who  owns  the  first  eight  volumes 
of  your  journal,  would  like  me  to  order  the  ninth  volume,  too. 
Three  other  gentlemen  requested  me  to  ask  you  whether  all 
earlier  volumes  of  Hechalutz  were  still  available,  and  if  so,  how 
much  they  would  cost. 

I  ask  you  therefore  to  send  me  very  soon  thirteen  copies  of 
Volume  10  and  one  copy  of  Volume  9  of  your  Hechalutz.  I 
would  be  only  too  happy  to  forward  the  ordered  volumes  to 
these  gentlemen,  also  to  collect  the  money  and  send  it  on  to  you 
by  bill  of  exchange.  I  leave  it  up  to  you  whether  you  would 
trust  me  with  three  copies  each  of  the  earlier  volumes  for  resale. 
I  think  they  will  be  sold  soon  if  the  price  is  not  too  high. 

And  now  permit  me,  dear  sir,  to  come  back  once  more  to  the 
controversy  between  Rabbi  Joshua  and  Rabbi  Eliezer  with 
reference  to  the  acceptance  of  proselytes.  Very  recently  I  had 
the  opportunity  to  examine  the  relevant  passages  in  Jerusalem 
Talmud]  Kiddushin  (3,  14),  also  in  Gerim  (i,  6),  and  to  compare 
them  with  the  baraitha  [non-Mishnaic  tannaitic  tradition]  in 

*a  Samuel  Adler  (1809-1891),  rabbi  at  Temple  Emanu-El,  New  York,  father 
of  Felix  Adler. 

389 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

Bab[ylonian  Talmud]  Yevamoth  46.  You,  dear  sir,  make  order 
out  of  chaos,  since  you  hold  the  account  in  the  Babyloniaa 
Talmud  to  be  completely  corrupted  and  accept  the  reading- 
of  the  Jerusalem  [Talmud]  as  the  correct  one.  But  according 
to  my  humble  opinion  there  are  a  few  objections  against  this 
supposition,  too.  It  is  plainly  apparent,  to  be  sure,  that  Rabbi 
Eliezer  requires  circumcision  and  only  circumcision  as  an  in- 
dispensable initiatory  rite  for  the  proselyte.  His  utterances 
referring  to  this  have  been  handed  down  to  us  in  three  versions: 

a)  If  he  was  circumcised  but  did  not  immerse  himself,  then 
behold  he  is  a  proselyte  (Yevamoth  46a). 

b)  A  proselyte  who  was  circumcised  but  did  not  immerse, 
he  is  a  proper  proselyte  (ibid.,  71  a). 

c)  Jerushalmi  Kiddushin  III,  14:  A  proselyte  who  was  circum- 
cised but  was  not  immersed,  or  immersed  but  not  circum- 
cised. The  law  is  determined  by  the  fact  of  circumcision. 

The  only  dissonance  in  this  account  is  the  passage  in  Babylonian 
Yevamoth  46b: 

In  the  case  that  he  was  immersed  but  not  circumcised, 
Rabbi  Eliezer  does  not  challenge  the  fact  that  the  conver- 
sion is  not  valid. 

How  the  editor  could  make  such  a  remark,  or  what  he  thought 
about  it,  I  cannot  understand. 

Now  let  us  return  to  Rabbi  Joshua.  In  Babylonian  Yevamoth, 
the  following  sentence  is  ascribed  to  him:  "If  he  immersed  but 
was  not  circumcised,  behold  he  is  a  proselyte."  According  to 
the  explanation  of  the  Gemara  [traditional  exposition  of  the 
Mishna]  there,  he  regards  immersion  as  definitely  necessary 
for  the  proselyte:  "Immersion  is  indispensable."  Now  let  us 
compare  the  Jerushalmi:  Rabbi  Joshua  said:  "Even  immersion  is 
indispensable." 

The  particle  "even,"  however,  means  that  according  to  Rabbi 

390 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHALJS  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

Joshua  both  acts,  circumcision  as  well  as  immersion,  are  necessary 
prerequisites  for  the  acceptance  of  proselytes.  But  how  does 
Rabbi  Joshua  differ  with  the  third  party  to  the  controversy, 
the  sages,  mentioned  in  Babylonian  Tevamoth?  And  did  not 
Rabbi  Judah  bar  Ilai  declare  himself  completely  satisfied  with 
either  circumcision  or  immersion  more  than  half  a  century  later 
(Tevamoth,  ibid.}'?  Furthermore,  we  must  take  into  account  that 
Rabbi  Joshua  was  much  more  easygoing  in  his  practice  than 
the  more  rigorous  Rabbi  Eliezer,  and  often  accepted  into  the 
[Jewish]  community  proselytes  who  had  been  harshly  rejected 
by  Rabbi  Eliezer.  And  how  should  one  assume  that  he  would 
present  harder  conditions  to  the  proselyte  for  his  acceptance 
than  Rabbi  Eliezer? 

All  these  difficulties  could  be  solved  easily  if  one  could  assume 
that  there  was  a  corrupted  passage  in  the  Jerushalmi  and  one 
would  emend:  "Rabbi  Joshua  said:  'Only  immersion  is  in- 
dispensable.3 "  That  would  be  in  complete  harmony  with: 
"Immersion  and  not  circumcision  is  necessary  for  the  pros- 
elyte," and  with  the  still  later  saying:  "One  of  them  would  be 
sufficient,"  as  well  as  with  the  otherwise  well-known  character 
of  Rabbi  Joshua. 

Of  course,  the  substitution  of  the  word  only  for  even  (or  even 
the  meaningless  p K,  which  appears  in  Massechet  Gerim)  would 
only  be  a  conjectural  emendation,  and  it  should  first  have  to  be 
supported  by  manuscripts  or  otherwise.  But  could  we  hope  that 
one  might  still  find  somewhere  manuscripts  of  the  Jerusalem 
Talmud,  except  for  the  well-known  one  in  Leyden?  Perhaps, 
if  we  are  lucky,  somewhere  in  a  corner  of  Asia. 

A  totally  unsuccessful  attempt  to  clear  up  this  matter  was 
made  by  Jac.  Naumburg  in  his  Nahalat  Taakov  on  Gerim  I3  6. 

Perhaps,  dear  sir,  you  will  undertake  sometime  to  transmit 
to  the  readers  of  Hechalutz  the  thread  of  Ariadne,  which  leads; 
with  certainty  out  of  the  labyrinthian  confusion.  .  .  . 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

LETTER  D 
(Hebrew) 

With  God's  help,  Chicago,  May  20,   1878,  according  to  the 
secular  calendar. 

Greetings,  dear  sir,  and  a  thousand  thanks  for  the  letter  which 
you  sent  me  on  April  i4th.  I  am  grateful  to  you  for  this  state- 
ment, for  it  enlightens  me  very  much.  I  consumed  the  scroll, 
and  it  was  as  sweet  honey  to  my  mouth.  Now  I  wish  to  present 
you  with  certain  comments  and  notes  upon  your  statement. 
There  are  many  deterrents,  however,  which  are  all  about  me 
these  days.  Various  duties  have  been  placed  on  my  shoulders 
and  bear  heavily  upon  me;  therefore,  I  am  compelled  to  write 
briefly  today.  Nevertheless,  I  hope  that  in  the  near  future  I  will 
find  time  to  present  before  you  certain  comments  which  I 
developed  as  I  read  your  learned  article.  I  have  already  informed 
you  that  I  have  received  nine  copies  of  Hechalutz,  Vol.  10,  not 
ten  copies,  and  today  I  wish  to  urge  you  to  send  me  without 
delay  another  four  copies  of  Volume  10  and  also  four  copies 
of  Vol.  9  via  the  post,  if  you  have  not  done  so  before  this  postal 
card  reaches  you.  A  number  of  our  country's  rabbis  have 
informed  me  that  they  have  great  difficulty  in  acquiring  Hechalutz 
either  through  a  bookstore  or  direct  from  you,  dear  sir.  Rabbi 
Dr.  Adler,"  who  at  the  moment  lives  in  New  York  City,  was 
formerly  a  rabbi  in  the  city  of  Alzey,  in  the  state  of  Rheinhessen. 
Even  though  he  erred  when  he  wrote  on  R.  Eleazar  the  Greater 
and  R.  Jose  the  Minor  and  Choni  Hameaggel  (see1  part  10, 
page  2),  he  is,  nevertheless,  one  of  the  few  men  in  our  country 
who  is  really  well  learned  in  Torah  and  in  the  knowledge  of 
Hebrew  literature.  Among  the  other  learned  men  are  Dr. 
Hubsch  in  New  York,  who  was  the  preacher  and  the  spiritual 
leader  of  the  people  of  Prague  in  years  gone  by  and  who  pub- 

392 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHALJS  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

lished  in  the  year  1866  "the  five  scrolls"  [Song  of  Songs,  Ruth, 
Lamentations,  Ecclesiastes,  and  Esther]  with  the  Syrian  Targum 
[translation  of  biblical  books]  written  in  Hebrew  script. 2  3  He, 
too,  may  be  considered  as  one  of  the  superior  men  in  our  country. 
Dr.  Kohler,24  about  whom  you  ask  me,  is  a  preacher  in  one  of 
the  congregations  here  in  Chicago,  and  he  is  the  author  of  a 
brochure  on  the  Blessing  of  Jacob.  (This  brochure  is  full  of 
many  conjectures  which  flounder  wildly  in  the  air  and  have  no 
basis  whatsoever.) a  s  I  have  no  space  left  and  the  hour  is  late, 
and  therefore  shall  conclude.  God  willing,  I  shall  write  a  long 
letter  to  you  in  the  near  future.  May  you  receive  a  blessing  as 
you  desire  and  as  I,  your  servant,  who  am  honored  by  your 
friendship,  desire.  .  . . 


LETTER  E 
(German) 

Chicago,  July  24,  1878. 


Dear  Mr.  Schorr: 


The  books  announced  in  your  good  letter  of  the  i6th  of  last 
month,  I  received  about  two  weeks  ago  and  immediately  sent 
them  on.  Still  I  have  not  collected  all  the  money  for  them; 
almost  a  third  is  still  outstanding.  I  will,  however,  no  longer 
delay  sending  you  the  amount  due  you.  The  prices  for  13  copies 
of  Hechalutz,  X,  at  Thaler  r.6  gr.  (total  Thaler  15.18  gr.),  and 
4  copies  of  Hechalutz,  IX,  at  Thaler  1.22  gr.  (total  Thaler  7), 
add  up  to  Thaler  22.18  gr.  or  about  68  Mark.  I  am  sending 

*s  Adolph  Hubsch  (1830-1884).  The  title  of  his  book  is  Die  Junf  Megilloih  nebst 
dem  Syriscken  Targum  etc.  (Prague,  1 866). 

« 4  Kaufmann  Kohler  (1843-1926). 
4  s  Der  Segcn  Jacobs,  etc.  (Berlin,  1867). 

393 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

you  75  Mark  in  order  to  reimburse  you  for  postage,  etc.  I  was 
unable  and  unwilling  to  charge  more  than  $i  for  Hechalutz,  X, 
and  $1.50  for  Hechalutz,  IX. 

Now,  please  send  "[the]  Rev.  Dr.  B.  Szold,  Baltimore,  Md." a6 
who  received  Hechalutz,  IX  and  X,  through  me,  the  earlier 
volumes  of  Hechalutz  (up  to  and  including  Vol.  8),  or  as  many 
as  you  have  on  hand.  Mr.  Szold  wrote  me  repeatedly  about  it. 
I  would  suggest  to  you  to  convey  the  books  directly  to  Mr.  Sz., 
who  is  an  absolutely  trustworthy  man,  and  he  will  certainly  let 
you  have  the  amount  owed  without  hesitation.  Through  this 
direct  delivery,  unnecessary  effort  and  postage  will  be  saved. 
Should  you  wish  that  /  collect  the  money  for  you,  I  would  be 
happy  to  do  this,  too. 

In  one  of  your  worthy  letters  you  expressed  the  wish  to  learn 
something  about  local  Jewish  conditions  from  me.  As  far  as 
religious  life  is  concerned,  the  ceremonial  practice  of  our  fore- 
fathers has  fallen  into  oblivion  completely,  especially  among  the 
younger  generation.  You  meet  thousands  of  young  men  and 
women  who  grew  up  in  this  country,  who  do  not  know  what 
tefillin  [phylacteries],  t&t&t  [the  fringes  of  the  prayer  shawl], 
trefut  [ritually  forbidden  food],  shehitah  [ritual  slaughtering  of 
animals],  and  the  like  are,  and  to  whom  these  matters  are  as 
strange  as  the  customs  of  the  Mohammedans  or  the  Parsees. 
Even  those  who  immigrated  at  an  advanced  age  soon  break 
with  the  "yoke  of  the  commandments,"  and  those  coming  from 
Polish  lands,  some  of  whom  try  to  hold  on  to  the  Shulchan  Aruch 
[ritual  and  legal  code  of  Rabbinic  Judaism,  dating  from  the 
sixteenth  century  G.  E.]  in  practice,  are  without  any  influence 
because  they  completely  lack  general  education.  They  pass  on 
without  leaving  a  trace.  Insofar  as  Jewish  life  manifests  itself 
before  the  world  in  temples  and  synagogues,  it  is,  as  you  may 

a*  Benjamin  Szold  (1829-1902),  rabbi  at  Oheb  Shalom  Congregation,  Baltimore, 
father  of  Henrietta  Szold. 

394 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAL'S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

well  imagine,  decidedly  reformist.  One  knows  nothing  any  more 
about  Kohanim  [priests]  and  their  privileges.  Men  sit  together 
with  their  wives  and  children  in  the  synagogue,  and  with  un- 
covered heads.  The  new  prayer  books  have  eliminated  every- 
thing referring  to  sacrifices,  Messiah,  resurrection,  and  the 
ingathering  of  the  exiles.  A  large  portion  of  the  prayers  is  recited 
in  either  German  or  English  (depending  on  the  circumstances  oi 
the  individual  congregation),  etc.,  etc.  In  wedding  ceremonies, 
also,  Reform  has  spoken  its  deciding  word.  Of  the  five  or  six 
different  new  prayer  books  that  have  appeared  in  our  country, 
those  edited  by  Einhorn  and  Jastrow  are  the  best.  The  latter  is 
more  traditional  in  its  form;  the  former  (Einhorn' s)  has  broken 
decisively  with  tradition,  both  in  its  external  make-up  and 
because  it  is  predominantly  German. 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  Reform  has  called  forth  a  spirit 
which  may  be  very  destructive  to  American  Israel,  if  it  is  not 
opposed  consciously.  I  am  not  speaking  about  the  efforts  of  a 
small  but  active  party  which  wants  to  move  the  Sabbath  to 
Sunday  and  the  like.  (As  a  calm  and  objective  observer  of  the 
•dominant  trends,  I  foresee  that  after  a  few  decades  it  will  come 
to  this  point,  for  the  Sabbath  has  been  completely  lost  to  our 
American  contemporaries,  absorbed  as  they  are  in  business, 
and  it  is  hardly  to  be  hoped  that  one  can  reconquer  it.)  But  I 
am  afraid  that  mixed  marriages  also  will  increase,  that  the 
resultant  progeny  will  be  lost  to  us  and  will  be  absorbed  as 
single  atoms  by  the  Christians  sects.  For  in  the  intellectual 
world,  too,  the  physical  law  applies,  that  larger  bodies  exert  a 
stronger  attraction  than  smaller  ones.  Just  because  of  higher 
conservative  considerations  (conservative  not  in  the  sense  that 
one  keeps  up  individual  old  customs  and  usages,  but  that  one 
tries  to  maintain  the  House  of  Israel  in  its  integrity)  — just 
because  of  higher  conservative  considerations,  it  is  imperative 
to  be  "lenient"  in  the  acceptance  of  proselytes  in  the  way  I 

395 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

have  suggested,  or  to  be  ready  to  officiate  at  mixed  marriages,  if 
the  bridal  couple  promise  to  raise  their  children  in  the  religion 
of  Judaism.  These  two  measures  should  present  themselves  soon 
as  compelling  to  every  thinking  observer  of  the  life  flowing 
about  us. 

Scientific  accomplishment  in  the  field  of  Judaism  can  hardly 
be  expected  from  America  at  this  time.  There  is  no  lack  of 
textbooks  (catechisms.  Biblical  histories,  and  the  like).  But  I 
am  speaking  about  truly  valuable  literary  achievements  orig- 
inating on  American  soil.  Dr.  Einhorn,27  who  officiated  in  a 
Jewish  Reform  congregation  in  [Buda]  Pesth  [Hungary]  at  the 
beginning  of  the  fifties,  and  who  has  been  in  America  since 
1855,  and  for  the  last  ten  years  with  a  congregation  in  New 
York,  stands  out  because  of  his  homiletic  achievements.  His 
sermons,  which  unfortunately  have  not  been  collected,  but  are 
scattered  in  pamphlets  and  in  magazines,  breathe  Isaianic  fire 
and  are  of  truly  gripping  force.  E.  is  not  a  preacher  of  nonsense. 
Beside  Einhorn,  Adler28  and  Hiibsch29  are  in  New  York;  about 
them  I  wrote  you  earlier  already;  furthermore,  Gottheil,  3° 
former  assistant  to  Holdheim31  in  Berlin  and  later  in  Man- 
chester, England;  furthermore,  a  few  younger  people,  unknown 
in  wider  circles,  and  a  few  old  ones  —  ignoramuses.  Dr.  S. 
Hirsch,  formerly  of  Luxemburg,  officiates  in  Philadelphia.  It 
is  he  who  published  nearly  forty  years  ago  a  huge  volume  about 
the  religious  philosophy  of  Judaism;32  furthermore,  Jastrow,35 

3  7  David  Einhorn  (1809-1879),  rabbi  in  Baltimore,  Philadelphia,  and  New  York. 

3  8  See  Note  22  above. 

3 »  See  Note  23. 

3°  Gustav  Gottheil  (1827-1903). 

31  Samuel  Holdheim  (1806-1860),  rabbi  of  the  Reform  congregation  in  Berlin. 

3*  Samuel  Hirsch  (1815-1889),  father  of  Emil  G.  Hirsch.  The  title  of  the  book 
is  Die  ReligionsphilosopkU  der  Juden,  etc.  (Leipzig,  1842). 

33  Marcus  Jastrow  (1829-1903). 
396 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAL'S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

once  a  preacher  in  Warsaw,  then  in  Worms  and  Mannheim; 
and,  finally,  an  Italian,  S.  Morais, 34  at  the  Portuguese  con- 
gregation. If  we  go  on  to  Baltimore,  we  could  mention  Szold, 
a  good  man,  not  without  theological  knowledge.35  In  Boston, 
Albany,  Buffalo,  Cleveland,  and  other  places  the  congregations 
are  led  by  men  who  in  part  are  quite  honorable  and  well- 
meaning, 3fi  but  in  part  must  be  described  as  absolute  zeros. 
Many  younger  preachers  and  rabbis  will  work  themselves  up 
to  a  glorious  reputation,  I  hope.  In  Cincinnati  lives  and  officiates 
Lilienthal37  (the  Munich  cataloguer,  mentioned  so  often  by 
Zunz  and  Steinschneider),  who  in  the  beginning  of  the  forties 
played  an  important  role  in  Russia  and  was  driven  from  there 
to  America;  furthermore,  Wise  (Weiss,38  born  in  Bohemia), 
in  America  since  1845  [1846].  The  latter  is  uncommonly  fond 
of  writing.  For  twenty-five  years  he  has  published  a  weekly 
(The  Israelite)  and  has  published  other  things  in  English,  espe- 
cially about  New  Testament  history.  Unfortunately,  the  man 
has  no  ideas  of  sound  criticism.  Among  other  things,  he  has  had 
the  curious  idea  that  Elisha  ben  Abuya  was  identical  with  Paul. 
As  ridiculous  as  this  hypothesis  is,  Wise  holds  fast  to  it  and 
reverts  to  it  all  the  time.  I  might  also  mention  Dr.  Sonneschein  3  9 

3<Sabato  Morais  (1823-1897),  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Jewish  Theological 
Seminary  of  America. 

as  "...  nicht  ohne  theologische  Kenntnisse. . . ."  Kober,  op.  cit.,  p.  125,  has 
"der  ohne  theologische  Kenntnisse  ist."  I  believe  that  our  copy  (American  Jewish 
Historical  Society)  of  the  manuscript  is  more  accurate,  thus  obviating  Note  89 
in  Kober. 

3 6  "...  die  teilweise  recht  ehrbar  und  wohlmeinend  sind."  Kober,  p.  125,  has  *enicht 
ehrbar  und  wohlmeinend,"  obviously  misleading. 

3  7  Max  Lilienthal  (1815-1882);  his  bibliographical  notes  on  the  manuscript  in 
the  Munich  library,  published  in  the  Allgemeine  %eitomg  des  Judentkums,  had  been 
severely  criticized  by  Zunz  and  Steinschneider. 

«8  Isaac  Mayer  Wise  (1819-1900). 

3  9  Solomon  H.  Sonneschein   (1839-1908).  Kober,  p.  126,  has  *eBuchheim,"  a 

397 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

in  St.  Louis,  editor  of  the  Deborah,  a  German  supplement  to 
The  Israelite.  This  Mr.  S.  came  over  from  Prague,  where  he 
was  preacher  of  a  local  congregation  for  a  time.  Spitz40  in 
Milwaukee,  about  whom  you  asked  me,  came  to  America  from 
Hungary  as  a  young  man  ten  or  twelve  years  ago. 

Here  in  Chicago,  L.[iebmann]  Adler41  officiates.  He  is  a  dear 
old  colleague  with  good  theological  and  sound,  clear  judgment; 
furthermore,  Kohler, 42  a  veritable  stormer  of  heaven,  who  came 
into  our  cisatlantic  world  from  the  university  in  1869.  You 
know  his  Blessing  of  Jacob.  A  few  weeks  ago  he  published  The 
Song  of  Songs,  a  New  Translation  with  Commentary,  a  brochure  of 
twenty-eight  pages,  very  remarkable  because  of  its  daring 
textual  corrections,  completely  arbitrarily  taken  out  of  the  air. 
K.  puts  A.  Krochmal,43  Hitzig,44  Schrader,45  etc.,  in  the 
deepest  shade.  He  outdoes  them  all.  Perhaps  I  shall  succeed  in 
getting  a  copy  for  you. 

The  American  rabbis  have  in  part  very  good  positions  and 
enjoy  in  part  very  fat  perquisites.  Others  live  in  more  straitened 
circumstances.  To  the  latter  class  the  writer  of  these  lines 
belongs.  I  can  truly  say  that  I  am  frugal  and  contented,  and 
my  heart  does  not  crave  riches.  But  I  am  very  sorry  that  I  have 
to  restrict  myself  in  my  literary  inclinations  to  an  extraordinary 
extent  and  can  acquaint  myself  with  the  literary  products  of 

mistake  in  reading,  as  there  was  no  Rabbi  Buchheim  in  St.  Louis,  as  far  as  we 
know,  and  Sonneschein  was  the  editor  of  the  Deborah. 

4°  Moritz  Spitz  (1848-1920),  later  rabbi  in  St.  Louis. 
4*  Liebmann  Adler  (1812-1892). 

4*  See  Note  8  above.  The  books  referred  to  are  Der  Segen  Jacobs,  etc.  (Berlin,  1867) 
and  Das  Hohe  Lied,  etc.  (New  York,  1878). 

43  Abraham  Krochmal  (1823-1888),  a  modern  Hebrew  writer,  the  son  of  Nachman 
Krochmal. 

44  Ferdinand  Hitzig  (1807-1875),  a  German  Protestant  Bible  scholar. 

45  Eberhard  Schrader  (1836-1908),  a  German  Semitic  scholar. 

398 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAI/S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

the  present  time  only  very  sparingly.  But  I  try  to  help  myself 
as  best  I  can. 

Now  let  me  say  another  word  about  your  highly  interesting 
article  which  you  sent  me  about  the  attitude  of  the  tannaim 
[mishnaic  sages],  Rabbi  Eliezer  and  Rabbi  Joshua,  on  the 
question  of  the  acceptance  of  proselytes.  I  cannot  —  I  do  not 
wish  to  oppose  you,  the  master,  with  my  insignificant  remarks. 
What  I  would  have  to  say  would  be  nothing  more  than  pedantry. 
But  I  do  not  want  to  conceal  the  general  impression  which  the 
reading  of  your  excellent  article  made  on  me.  You  have  made  a 
highly  ingenious  discovery,  and  you  carry  on  highly  ingenious 
researches  in  detail.  But  since  Rabbi  Eliezer  is  known  to  us  as 
an  enemy  of  the  idolaters,  Rabbi  Joshua,  however,  as  a  much 
more  tolerant  and  a  milder  personality,  could  it  be  psycholog- 
ically justified  and  assumed  that  Rabbi  Eliezer  should  have 
been  more  lenient  in  the  acceptance  of  proselytes  than  Rabbi 
Joshua? 

I  hope,  by  the  way,  that  your  article  will  be  presented  to  the 
world  of  learning  completed  and  supplemented  in  the  eleventh 
volume  of  Hechdutz.  (For  you  write  in  your  last  letter  that  you 
could  add  a  good  deal.) 

And  when  (as  I  hope,  very  soon)  Hechalutz  XI  will  have 
appeared,  would  you  not  take  care  that  your  friends  hear 
something  about  it  by  announcements  to  bookdealers  or  other- 
wise that  a  new  issue  has  appeared?  If  I  had  not  sent  you  a 
copy  of  my  brochure  as  a  sign  of  respect  last  January,  I  might 
not  know  even  now  that  a  tenth  volume  of  your  work  is  already 
printed. 

I  would  like  to  have  your  permission  to  translate  your  article, 
mentioned  above,  and  to  publish  it  in  an  American  journal  in 
which  such  an  article  would  be  welcome  and  appropriate.  Only 
the  most  meaningless  twaddle  and  the  most  vulgar  gossip  are 
published  in  our  Jewish  papers.  And  I  hardly  believe  that  any 

399 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

editor  would  have  been  ready  to  offer  space  to  an  article  in 
his  journal  which  would  be  completely  unenjoyable  for  the 
bulk  of  his  readers. 

I  still  must  allow  myself  a  few  remarks  about  Hechalutz  X. 
It  is  already  a  few  months  since  I  have  read  this  volume,  and  at 
that  time  I  noted  on  a  small  piece  of  paper  something  that 
struck  me.  Now  I  can  not  find  this  piece  of  paper  and,  as  I 
take  up  the  book  again,  I  can  discover  only  very  little,  by 
cursory  examination,  against  which  I  have  any  objections  to 
raise.  Only  your  rare  learning,  your  incisive  critique,  your  new, 
nearly  always  correct  enrichments  of  Jewish  science  and  dis- 
covery in  its  field  are  worthy  of  the  fullest  recognition. 

In  your  article  "Balaam,  the  Evil  One,  and  His  Disciples3'  it 
seems  to  me  that  you  carry  the  idea  to  the  extreme  that  behind 
the  numerical  values  of  the  names  Balaam,  Doeg,  Ahithophel, 
other  names  have  been  hidden  intentionally  from  the  begin- 
ning.46 When  I  read  this,  I  remembered  how  Rappoport,47 
because  of  his  "gematriot"  [cryptographs,  usually  dealing  with 
numerical  values  of  words],  eliminated  the  name  of  Rabbi 
Eleazar  Ha-Kallir  from  nearly  all  hispiyjwtim  [liturgical  poems], 
and  how  he  experienced  bitter  criticism  for  it  from  Eliakim 
Mehlsack48  in  his  Sefer  Rabiyah.  It  is  true,  already  in  Jesus5 
time  the  play  with  gematriot  and  the  like  was  known,  and  you 
are  right  in  your  astonishment  (p.  95)  that  Geiger  denied  this. 
The  Bible  already  knows  something  similar!  Jeremiah,  by  the 
application  of  Era  n^K, 49  hides,  as  is  well  known,  the  name  Babel 

*6  Hechalutz  X  (1877),  32-46.  According  to  Schorr,  Balaam  means  Jesus;  Doeg, 
Peter;  AMthophel^  James;  and  Geka&3  Paul. 

41  Solomon  Judah  L6b  Rappoport  (1790-1867),  a  Haskalak  scholar. 

*8  Eliakim  Mehlsack  (A.  G.  Samiler)  (1780-1854),  a  Russian  Talmudist. 

4*  A  cryptographic  system  by  which  the  first  letter  of  the  alphabet  is  replaced  by 
the  last,  and  vice  versa;  the  second  by  the  next  to  the  last,  and  vice  versa,  etc. 
In  this  way  the  words  "Babel"  and  "Kasdim"  are  substituted  by  "Sheshach"  and 
"Leb-Kamai,"  respectively,  in  Jeremiah  25:26;  51:1;  and  51:41. 

400 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAI/S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

behind  the  name  Sheshach  and  the  name  Kasdim  behind  the 
name  Leb-Kamai.  But  it  is  hardly  likely  that  already  in 
Talmudic  times  childish  tricks  going  to  such  extremes  would 
have  been  performed  as  in  the  Middle  Ages  when,  to  cite  only 
one  example  among  hundreds,  one  discovered  by  subtle  analysis 
that  Ben  Sirach  had  the  same  numerical  value  as  Jeremiah,  the 
name  of  his  supposed  father  and  grandfather  (Maharil,  begin- 
ning of  his  Likkutim,  and  in  other  places). 

After  you  (p.  101)  give  the  undoubtedly  correct  explanation  of 
the  well-known  proverbial  application  of  the  name  "Shelumiel" 
from  Sanhedrin  82b,  you  quote  another  explanation  given  by 
Low  for  this  popular  epithet  which  has  become  proverbial. 
Against  this  the  following  objections  may  be  raised.  In  the  first 
place,  Low  does  not  say  that  the  Schlemihl  [fool]  in  the  time  of 
Meir  of  Rothenburg  was  called  "Shelumiel."  He  quotes 
(Lebensalter,  p.  376,  note  58)  Responsum  No.  25  to  the  Hilchoth 
Ishuth  of  Maimonides,  but  if  one  checks  the  source,  one  finds 
that  the  husband's  name  was  Isaac.  In  the  second  place,  Low 
says  in  reference  to  Maharil  that  Shelumiel  lived  in  Enns  in 
the  fourteenth  century.  Low  erred.  The  man  he  really  means 
was  called  Solomon;  "Shelumiel35  does  not  occur  as  a  proper 
name  in  post-Biblical  times.  The  source  which  Low  uses  is 
found  in  a  Maharil  edition  accessible  to  me,  Frankfort,  1687, 
p.  6ib  (in  Hilchoth  Tom  Tov),  and  there  it  says:  "Rabbi  Shlomel 
from  the  city  of  Enns  went  once,  etc.,"  that  is,  Rabbi  Shalom 
from  Austria,  a  teacher  of  Maharil,  and  so  Maharil  attests.  The 
name  "Shlomel"  is,  however,  not  identical  with  Shelumiel,  but 
is  the  old  Shelomoh  with  the  usual  German  diminutive  ending 
-£/,  as  one  finds  such  formation  of  names  countless  times,  but 
especially  frequently  with  Maharil,  for  instance,  Hershel,  Berel, 
Leibel,  Hirschel,  etc.  Repeatedly  Shlomel  is  also  found  in 
Maharil,  ed.  Frankfort,  i58b  (in  Hilchoth  Purirri),  also  Moshel 
(derived  from  Moshe),  ibid.,  last  page,  etc. 

401 


EZRA  SPICEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

Thirdly,  Low  claims  to  have  discovered  a  man  by  the  name 
of  Shelumiel,  who  lived  in  Safed  in  the  seventeenth  century. 
But  if  one  checks  more  carefully,  this  man  also  was  called 
Shlomel,  from  Shelomoh.  If  I  am  not  mistaken,  this  man  is 
first  mentioned  in  Delmedigo's  Ma&ef  Lehochmah.  This  book  is 
not  available  to  me.  But  Hayyim  Joseph  David  Azulai  quotes 
it  in  Shem  Hagedolim  (ed.  Wilna),  II,  4,  in  No.  57,  and  Azulai 
writes  "Shlomoh  Shlimel."  Furthermore,  Leon  Modena,  in 
the  Art  Nohem,  p.  8  (ed.  Furst,  Leipzig,  1840),  draws  upon  this 
same  source  uncovered  by  Delmedigo.  If  he  has  the  reading 
Shelumiel,  the  reason  for  it  may  be  seen  apparently  in  the  fact 
that  the  Italian  did  not  understand  the  German  form  of  the 
name  Shlomel  or  Shlimel  and  corrected  it  wrongly  into 
Shelumiel.  .  .  . 


LETTER  F 
(Hebrew) 

Chicago,  December  2,  1878. 

To  the  great  scholar  whose  name  is  renowned  in  all  the  ends  of 
the  earth,  my  teacher  and  master,  J.  H.  S.,ao  peace  and  blessings. 

Your  dear  letter  dated  the  i3th  of  last  month  reached  me 
today,  and  immediately  it  came  to  my  hand  I  hurried  and 
wrote  to  Rabbi  B.  Szold,26  who  dwells  in  B.,  informing  him 
that  the  letter  which  he  sent  to  you,  dear  sir,  and  the  postal 
check  which  was  enclosed  in  it,  as  well  as  the  books  which  he 
sent  you  via  the  post,  were  not  delivered  to  you  nor  seen  by 
you,  and  that,  therefore,  he  should  be  good  enough  to  send  you 
without  delay  a  duplicate  check,  etc.,  etc.  This  was  the  content 
of  my  letter  to  the  aforementioned  Rabbi  S.,  which  I  wrote 
and  mailed  this  day.  He  will  undoubtedly  rush  to  do  what 
402 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAI/S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

I  advised  and  requested.  Rabbi  S.  is  an  honorable  man,  and  I 
am  sure  that  he  sent  the  price  of  [the  copies  of]  Hechalutz  to  you. 
Perhaps  this  letter  and  the  books  were  lost  en  route,  or  per- 
haps. .  .  .  Certainly  they  were  lost,  and  the  sender  is  innocent 
of  any  ugly  or  despicable  act.  We  must  not  even  suspect  him. 
I  am  sure  that  in  a  few  days  you  will  receive  another  letter  from 
the  aforementioned  rabbi,  and  everything  will  be  set  aright. 
This  year's  calendar,  which  you  received  from  New  York,  was 
mailed  to  you  by  the  publisher  on  my  order.  My  article50 
which  appears  in  it  is  full  of  corruptions  and  printer's  errors. 
Do  not  blame  me  for  this,  for  I  was  unable  to  correct  these 
errors  since  the  publisher  did  not  send  me  the  page  proofs 
in  time. 

Recently  I  received  the  November  issue  of  Graetz's  monthly 
[Monatsschrift  fur  Geschichte  und  Wissenschqft  des  Judentums],  and  I 
found  in  it  an  article  by  one  of  the  American  rabbis,  Rabbi  S. 
Adler. 22  In  this  article  the  aforementioned  rabbi  presents  us 
with  a  new  explanation  of  the  words  mimochorat  hashabat 
(Leviticus  23:n).SI  The  following  is  Rabbi  Samuel  Adler's 
opinion:  The  commandment  to  bring  the  omer  [sheaf]  was  a 
separate  commandment  and  was  not  at  all  connected  with  the 
Passover  holiday.  Whoever  believes  that  this  commandment 
was  connected  with  Passover  is  mistaken.  The  real  explanation 
is  as  follows:  After  the  barley  was  ready  to  be  reaped,  whenever 
it  happened,  at  that  point  the  harvest  time  (mimochorat  hashabat} 
began  —  that  is  to  say,  the  first  day  of  labor.  Throughout  the 
country,  at  the  beginning  of  the  harvest,  the  children  of  Israel 
brought  the  first  omer  of  the  harvest  to  the  priest,  etc.  Fifty  days 
after  the  bringing  of  the  omer  they  would  celebrate  the  holiday 

s°  We  are  unable  to  locate  this  article. 

s x  "Pharisaismus  und  Sadduc&ismus  und  ihre  differierende  Auslegung  des  mochorat 
hashabat,"  Monatsschrift  fur  Geschichte  und  Wissenschaft  des  Judcnthums,  XXVII 
(1878),  522-28. 

403 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

of  Shovuoth  [Pentecost],  This  is  the  explanation  of  Rabbi 
Samuel  Adler.  So  far  I  have  read  the  first  part  of  his  article 
only,  which  shall  be  continued  in  the  following  issues.  What  is 
your  opinion,  sir,  of  this  explanation?  According  to  my  humble 
judgment,  one  might  plausibly  accept  this  opinion  or  at  least 
test  it  and  separate  the  truth  in  it  from  those  portions  which  are 
unsubstantiated. 

Above,  I  designated  this  interpretation  as  a  "new  explana- 
tion,53 but  after  further  examination  I  find  that  it  is  not  a  new 
explanation  at  all.  One  of  the  early  Karaites  whose  name  is 
Bachtan  presented  this  interpretation  concerning  the  time  of 
the  harvest  to  his  contemporaries,  namely,  that  if  it  be  reaped 
before  the  Passover  they  should  count  the  days  from  that  point. 
His  words  are  quoted  in  the  Sefer  Heasor  of  Rabbi  Jacob  ben 
Reuben,  the  Karaite,  and  also  in  the  Otzar  Nechmad  of  Rabbi 
Jeshuah  according  to  the  testimony  of  the  author  of  the  Aderet 
(see  the  Likkute  Kadmoniot  of  Rabbi  Solomon  Pinsker,  Appendix, 
p.  85).  Perhaps  even  Rabbi  Abraham  ben  Ezra  is  inclined  to 
this  opinion  and  believes  it  to  be  the  correct  one  when  he 
alludes  to  the  "secret/5  according  to  his  well-known  manner. 
These  are  his  words  in  his  comment  on  Leviticus  23:11:  "Behold, 
I  will  tell  you  a  secret,  that  all  the  holidays  depend  upon  a 
specific  day  of  the  month,  and  because  of  the  Sefirah  [counting], 
which  is  a  commandment,  no  fixed  day  for  Shovuoth  was  stated." 
Thus  far  his  words. 

I  do  not  know  whether  another  of  our  sages  has  interpreted 
the  above-mentioned  verses  in  this  manner  and  not  according 
to  the  halachah. 

My  words  are  many.  Forgive  me,  sir,  for  having  written  so 
much.  I  am  your  servant,  who  honors  you  with  all  my  heart 
and  soul.  .  .  . 


404 


BERNHARD  FELSENTHAL5S  LETTERS  TO  OSIAS  SCHORR 

LETTER  G 
(Hebrew) 

Chicago,  10  September,  1879. 
Salutations:12 

For  some  time  I  have  been  meaning  to  write  to  you  and  to 
inquire  as  to  your  health.  I  was  prevented  from  doing  so  by 
the  thought  that  I  should  not  disturb  the  great  scholar  J.  H.  S. 
with  my  superfluous  words  and  my  meager  gifts.  I  resolved, 
nevertheless,  that  when  the  New  Year  arrived  I  would  greet, 
as  my  custom  has  been  for  many  years,  my  famous  and  scholarly 
friend  who  lives  in  Brody,  and  would  then  inform  him  that  I 
pray  for  him  to  the  Dweller  on  High  and  wish  him  a  happy, 
successful,  and  prosperous  New  Year.  May  he  enjoy  long  years 
of  health  and  peace.  Amen. 

And  now  that  the  New  Year  is  approaching,  I  fulfill  my 
resolution.  I  greet  you  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart.  Let  this 
greeting  be  a  sign  of  my  deep  love  toward  you,  a  love  which  is 
disinterested  and  which  is  as  strong  as  it  always  has  been  and 
always  shall  be.  .  .  . 

Not  only  do  I  greet  you  at  the  approach  of  the  New  Year, 
but  I  do  so  for  another  reason.  ...  I  have  discovered  that  you 
will  shortly  reach  your  sixty-third  year.  My  source  is  the  great 
Catalogue  of  the  Bodleian  Library  of  Oxford,  edited  by  the 
scholar  Moses  [Moritz]  Steinschneider. s  2  There  I  read  that 
you  were  born  on  the  8th  of  Tishri,  5677,  according  to  the 
Jewish  calendar,  or  September  30,  1816,  according  to  the  Gentile 
count.  On  the  occasion  of  your  birthday  I  express  my  thoughts 
to  you,  O  king  who  rules  over  all  the  great  scholars  of  Israel. 

*a  Catalogus  Librorvm  Hebraeorum  in  Bibliotheca  Bodleiana,  2573/7146.  Scholars 
disagree  as  to  the  date  of  Schorr's  birth.  For  a  discussion  of  the  problem  see 
Spicehandlcr*s  article  on  Schorr,  HUCA,  XXVIII,  note  2  to  letter  16. 

405 


EZRA  SPIGEHANDLER  AND  THEODORE  WIENER 

Would  that  God  grant  you  to  see  this  day  many  times,  and 
that  as  you  grow  old  your  mind  shall  grow  even  more  lucid 
and  stronger  to  increase  the  glory  and  the  might  of  Israel's 
wisdom. 

You  have  informed  me,  dear  friend,  that  Volume  XI  of 
Hechalutz  is  at  the  printer's  and  will  soon  appear.  I  yearn  to 
drink  of  your  wisdom,  for  whatever  you  write  is  useful  and 
correct.  I  thank  you  very  much  for  offering  me  a  free  copy  as  a 
token  of  your  esteem. 

I  believe  that  I  am  able  to  distribute  twelve-fifteen  copies  of 
Volume  XI  of  Hechalutz,  and  to  sell  them  at  this  fixed  price. 
Send  them  to  me  and  I  will  endeavor  to  distribute  them  among 
men  who  understand  and  enjoy  them.  It  is  self-understood  that  I 
shall  hasten  to  fulfill  your  wishes  willingly  and  faithfully.  .  .  . 

I  close  this  letter  with  a  greeting  of  peace  to  him  who  is 
distant  and  is  at  the  same  time  near,  distant  in  geography  but 
near  in  thought. 

I  am  honored  and  proud  of  your  friendship.  . .  . 


406 


Rabbi  Sabato  Morals'  Report 

on  the  Hebrew  Education  Society 
of  Philadelphia 


MENAHEM  G.  GLENN 


JLHE  FOLLOWING  is  a  copy  of  an  original  document, 
a  manuscript  written  by  Rabbi  Sabato  Morais,  in  the  possession 
of  Dropsie  College,  in  Philadelphia.  Photostats  of  the  manu- 
script were  supplied  to  me  by  the  American  Jewish  Archives  in 
Cincinnati.  The  report  on  the  Hebrew  Education  Society  of 
Philadelphia  comprises  pages  33  through  37  in  a  collection  of 
eighty-three  pages  written  by  Sabato  Morais  in  an  Italian- 
Sephardi  Hebrew  script  which  is  rather  difficult  to  read.  Many 
of  the  papers  are  Morais*  own  letterheads  from  Livorno. 

The  report  is  the  first  authentic  history  of  the  Philadelphia 
Hebrew  Education  Society.  It  is  presented  as  if  written  by  Moses 
Aaron  Dropsie,  with  an  addendum  by  David  Sulzberger,  but 
there  can  be  no  question  that  the  author  was  Rabbi  Morais. 

It  was  written  in  Hebrew,  some  time  between  1889  and  1892. 

*  *s  j 

In  editing  the  report,  I  have  given  a  faithful  copy  of  it,  and  I 
call  attention  to  the  following: 

Words  letter-spaced  and  underscored  appear  in  the  original 
manuscript  above  the  written  line;  words  letter-spaced  within 
parentheses  appear  this  way  in  the  original;  words  within  paren- 

Dr.  Menahem  G,  Glenn  is  senior  editor  on  the  staff  of  Maurice  Jacobs,  Inc., 
of  Philadelphia,  the  noted  Hebrew  printing  firm,  and  is  a  member  of  the  faculty 
of  Gratz  College. 

407 


MEN  AHEM  G.  GLENN 

theses  indicate  that  the  author  had  them  crossed  out;  a  question 
mark  shows  that  the  editor  doubts  his  reading,  while  words  or 
phrases  within  brackets  are  the  editor's  suggested  readings  for 
lacunae.  Ellipses  indicate  missing  words  or  letters;  letter-spaced 
words  or  phrases  indicate  that  the  author  had  them  underlined. 
Words  partially  vocalized  are  reproduced  as  in  the  original 
manuscript. 


ma»  r»»  TIB^  man  nrrtin  11227 
mzwai 


^a  p  B'aiaai  anrpa  ama  *»T  V»  V*rw  m  rr^  naaaa  "pis  [Page  1] 

aaV  *?»  iav  TOK  pna  nai  n^n  ,tnsa  -HM  p«ft  na^a  ja 
ama  •«  ^?»  an1?  n^apa  nn-»n  n»  pt^*?  wn11  a^a&Va 
ax  -»D  avia  rn  xV  D»si7  an^Vrim  anV»n 
x1?'!  aria  p  aa  rrn  an^rs  iDen  -ra1?1?  an^ 

n*in»  nDK^aa  piart  nan  wann  nt  *na»a  taman 
jninn  nTisaai  ^rsa  p«^a  ns^n  map1?  amaVnn  i^Dr  itVi 
oa  iKnp"»  nt^K  o^nsoa  man  manon  naxsan  TI»  maun 

TIT  s  V  ix  a  ••  a  T  n  ^fc^^xl?  OK  nanaa  *IU?K  na^Vn 
mwa  a^inipn  a1?  nK  mp^nna  rn  niavrina  nsp  ^  ,ann  anaan 
]a  :onnana  la^awi  na  ntr^K  ansnan  n*r  VK  ma-npai  laan 

aa  iTn  pi  nap  a<iwan  i»a  at  nc  a^aaiwa  ia»»  aipa  -na^a  asa  »aa  ?ra 

nrr  mpaian  i*?«n  manaa  na^nn  "?a  asa  p 


no*1  [nsn]  ns7T  ^a  aan^  I'm  •'a  ^»  TX  piVna  *?xw  *»*&  aa1? 
nsnn  n^na^»  nenn  xi2a^  anavn  la^nK  wpa  KI^I  n^mpim 
K&nai  nai^K  K2J»a  ^K  lanima^  a^ana  «r»K  ap  maa  pra 
ava  nK  A'waa  ptr?Knn  -pia  av  nK*»i  ana  xnpa  nra^  pas1*  atr?a 


1  This  is  the  way  Morais  spells  United  States  in  Hebrew  letters.  The  Hebrew  is  of 
peculiar  usage.  See  Note  21,  below. 

408 


MORAIS'  REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 


awn  to»  nsan  waai  lain  2(?>  n^i^n  aanw?  nm  aaarca  nam 

WK  Vaa  irvr  aa  a^aitaa  r»a  pnaaVi  lampa  imaya  ma  pp  anrfr 

Tnn  ise1*1?  pas*  :-mriK  lap  ntpa  a^tmn  ^DJD  p  m  IIVP  'Van  ,wfcnp 

mrmn  minn  rra;a  rpna^  anas  warna  nt^K 
nTirr  ''n1?  n»*?^  nV»nr»?iw  iVan  WSIK  VDI  nmwnn  nn*»n  mnan  • 
*»D  »pm»  TVian  DK  mn  nwV  osnn  ^n  a^n 
naa  ^    KfaaMin)    laVa  ama^n  nVnnn 


mnaon  ns?7  ann 


c?  a^nnDia-]  annaia  a^a  ^SD  a^ttnia  •'naa  anaVan 
mov  «(?)  rann*  ansian  pawift    tyst^xa    tnnV  n 
••na  MK»  naaon  n^»  nana   1?t»nsK   «rm^  n»awa  mmm  natpai  nnann 


nasona  :jraiVw»  nanaa 


-»a  p  aa  TO^  Va»  ania&pa  anrarr  ^an1?  -na^  ir»a  TO1*1?  Ta^a  nan*»a 
n*»a  Axwa  nmin  •ma  anvn^  an^aVnn  HK  -paaVi  VITA 
)pnai  anaoaV  K^annK  ^nait  ttmft  wawa  nnca  a^aapV 
an  Tia^a  ^V^Di  anaon  :(p  •»  V  a  i  &)  ea^an  *?v  na^n  ^na  V 


anpn  ptt??  irra 

[Judah  Touro:  see  the  translation,  below]  nais  rma11  yannK  nava 
aann  ttfrrrma  a^iit^ii  «]Vn  onwy  10  pars;  rraa 
•»  i  K  i  *i  a  *  &  trnrf?  awana 


*  Wherever  a  question  mark  is  placed  near  a  word,  it  indicates  that  that  word  is 
smudged  and  illegible,  and  that  the  reading  thereof  has  been  conjectured  by  the 
sense  of  the  text. 


3  This  phrase  is  based  upon  the  Mishnaic  statement:  l^n  UK  n»nn  osn 
(Tamid  $2a;  cf.  Aboth  2:13),  "Who  is  \vise?  He  who  can  foresee  that  which  will 
be  born  (i.  e.,  the  result  of  an  act)." 

•*  This  is  the  way  the  text  of  the  document  spells  the  word  "rudiments." 

s  The  year  1847  (if  my  reading  is  correct  despite  the  smudge).  It  is  of  interest  that 
Morais  uses  the  Hebrew  letters  to  designate  the  general  date. 

6  The  writer  of  this  document  uses  the  word  D'm  hi  the  sense  in  which  it  is  used  in 
the  Mishnaic  and  rabbinic  phrase  n»ann  man,  i.  e.,  "public"  or  "public  place." 
That  is,  the  word  o»3"i,  "many,"  "majority,"  is  taken  to  mean  "public,"  hence  the 
phrase  D»ai  V&>  ne^rr  n»a  means  a  public  school. 

409 


MENAHEM  G,  GLENN 


anav  oral  ^m^xp   aiaiV  *pao  wsrawi  aima  psaa  aspa 
rra  invrf?  pan  pin  Y'annx  *»  x  a  snaV 


*?ma  ronnx    n  *  a  *>  a  p  i  K    ttrraV  onvsn  aaiat&a    [Page  2] 
:VT  a^aana  pnatf?  '"uwa  vna  rra*  inpaa  «ma  rraa 
p  nspi  atr»n  abo  nnavn  aawa  irra1?^  rvnin1?  an^a  iri^^a 
maaaa  VD  aa^an  TiaVna  ^?*n  jnpaa  Vx  maViiwi  ,n^x  mana 
a^rftpwa  aaam  nmaoir  naaai  TW1^  9QDnn  ntta  o^a^a 
••aa  TO*?  p2$na  aVapna  onVwci  oana  av  "raVV  ans;  «w[i»hpi» 
iai  an^na  nwiDi  TwrVa  n»na  mnaa  mienaa  na» 
•»  w  a  K  in^Daa  IPK  »]ODai  niw  ^D^nx^sa  tr>a» 


rra  ane  laa1?    am^     ^i   nyaa   x1? 


D  to  tD11:^  arx  itwa  *naK  naoa 
••aaa  n^p  ^  *JK  ,aanaaw  anaaiaa  p  mnfi<»  K^»  ian^ 
p  lan^&na  ^^at^a  ^  aiaxa  ia  loxa  ^rra^a  aaa  o^asa  p*n 


n^a  Vx  onaanaa  ja*naa  ra  anaVaa  p  nsp  naa  IK   a1*  a41 
mtn  pa11  K^  ^a  onaxa  rV»  oaVab  na«  n»t3  iiraa  K  i  a  a 


aa  D^im  ox  ^"DX  ftia  ^xa)  a^an  ^v  Vnxi  na^a  nn  *?x 


61  pa   p^baifi)   wa^ai  *m  -na^V  ••na  n^n  pntr?  *»a&a  DV 

^a  ^as1?  a»pa  assia  TX  :aa?7  xa1? 


aa  "^an    »  naa  '•M  nmaa  tma^  D^a  oito1?  am? 

7  Morals  treats  aim,  which  is  masculine,  as  if  it  were  in  the  feminine  gender.  His 
treatment  may  have  been  influenced  by  the  fact  that  *estreet"  is  feminine  in  many 
European  languages. 

*  The  editor  of  this  document  has  placed  in  parentheses  those  words  which  the 
writer  crossed  out. 

9  osnn  here  is  used  in  the  sense  of  "the  Reverend  Mr." 

10  1BHR1  instead  of  ianpj»  or  iPHpS  "dedicate,"  or  "devote,"  seems  to  have  been 
preferred  by  Morais,  although  the  hiphil  form,  WHp',  would  be  far  more  justifiable. 

1  r  The  money  promised  by  the  people  of  New  York  never  did  arrive. 
14  See  Note  6,  above. 
410 


MORAIS5  REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 


a*np  lorwh  ET  law]  law   v   oyrapam  "ins  tia1*1?  rv»a 

w  nsa  lattrwi  K^OII  manaa  n&oa  ^a  as>  i 
iaai  DTK  na  aaw  iai  TOK  maipaa  aipaa  rrn  pirn  fn«ta  TOT 
wan  awia  via  ia  «saa  tf?i  ,inyn  *(?)  vsaKa  pm  »am  p^a 
VDV  Vita  ^  ,^iaK  mn^  Tisnrw  na  nom  mpan  n^n  s;n 
«o  mann  sna«D  txinn  aipaa  wtnjri  iina  pVi  a^ao  iVian  n*»a 
^  Vr  Dn:nini  D^  nwVa  DA  opso  m^a1?  nass?  ni^n  irn« 
trsmn*  nt»aat»on=)  i^a^oM  win*?  anwsn  naiawa  noiai  pK 

nt  a^Diao  a^na  nw^w    n  a  w    aerial  n^a)  nnap  »(rmr«) 
)D  m  armirf?  xVx  iaVa  Dma*»Va  nn»an  iin1?  K1?  iia^1?  •'na  mo; 


|K  pna  IT»  Vapnw  nVmn  nnann  t 

nunp  Ta1?^  Viaai  pin  n^  owm  Waa  answn  "pa^n  airs?^  nmaia  nt 
m»T««am  la^ipa  TMUH  "IWK  wn  pw*?a     ni  ^  a  a     wn*»&i  na» 
mann  mo;  DKTH  anoan  VK  sraaV  :^V  own  ara  UTiiaK1?  diV)  WTK 


iptaa  p  n»  niax^a  Twrt  ^  ,nKta  i^a  a^w  maipaa  na^  ^na  aw^w 
ran  ,i:ra^  ns  atmy    ma    DM  m^V  "mra  ^iss  7i$a    7  a  r 


rasa  nnnrt?  •'aiiT  isa  *JK  oipa  iV  nna  I1*  roK*?a  -na^  wmaaa  aai»ma 
nna:  D^W  D^aciKa  nmar  aa  las;  nw^  naK  ara  jara  ,-naaa 
is;  wawi  (  t?  a  •"•7'»o  *»")&)  pWKia  onca  urn1?  a/7onnx 
maim  xvaa  n»  TI»  nnwV  vans  iman*  K*?  »piaa  imxa 
n^ai  »i^  ^a  ^j^a  »joaa  ,a^*n  *pVa  aa^a  anana  TK 
a^a  xf?  nar  pw1?  na1^  aViK  ,D^?wai  an  ^^?aa  D^Tia^V 

anana  iw  fra  rf?y 


13  D*")|,  "strangers,5*  or  "sojourners,"  used  by  Morals  for  "immigrants." 

1 4  In  the  text:  na'rnn  mnnn,  \vith  a  sign  for  the  transposition  of  the  words,  made  by 
the  author. 

15  p"l$,  "a  season,"  "a  time,"  or  "a  period,"  is  used  here  to  make  a  play  on 
words  with  1p"]$V»  "to  remove  B*;  t^16  burden]." 

16  The  money  is  gone!  But  this  phrase  is  coined  on  the  pattern  of  iV  "]Vn  »|Vn  D»art, 
"the  rain  is  over  and  gone"  (Song  of  Songs  2;n). 

411 


MENAHEM  G.  GLENN 


nnn  IPK  tram  iteo  "msm  niai  rvm  a"£>nnK  natpa    [Page  3] 

*?!>  lan?1!    DPS!!1?    8(aw»)  103  B^ffl  IWn    8f)  *?  P  a  fr 


nrnVi  rfasa  iinozai  nona  xraaV  terra  -pi  arra^D  latzn  amVia  aipa& 

Vin  niaa-n  a'a^K  nan  KiaV  TO  won  BKia  nnx  vm  t 

»,jrat»6po  mmxa  amrr  rasaa  (?)  nininnn  nnrn 

arm  onjn  :ni*iDV  in^i  cnwa  aa  K*?K  /Rn»i 

mVnpn  iVin^n  ns  ^  K^nK1?^^  Timai  ftw  OT& 
:^an^Daa  nniK  nnTttn  nnin  nK  mawV  maaVn  ^nirnn^i  nnV 
wmi  •TOD  Vs?  jwwan  n»  vssn  mfn*  ir^K  o^an  nnn  tmrrcr 


a  rrVn  pr  DI»T  K*?  anan  IWK  fixn  ••owai 
^nna  o&ia  ^ns  ^57  on^nK  n*»&pn  WK  nnx  ID  ^y 
rrrr1  nna  7n«  tei  an^an  «<am&a)  wv  pa^  aniwa  *»sns  to 
nan  ^D  ,nD^  «in  n^ao  -JD  to  n^s?1*  anan  -)£>oa  ^  la^ai  K1?  aVi»a  :pKrt 
tea  WP  np^awv  amn^n  n^Dn  n^x  *i»^  aanrr 
arnp  pnv  ra  n^a  amrrn  pawu  :nV«n  anaia  vonnn 

^^a//  ainaV  t^oin  nasan  imitan  t^n  i  w  &  a 
narraa 


1  7  Based  upon  a  portion  of  the  verse  Deuteronomy  31:17,  nnsn  nun  mjn 
*eand  many  evils  and  troubles  shall  come  upon  them." 

18  Selaoama**ihc  Slavic  countries. 

**  Here  Morais  employs  a  phrase  which  is  based  upon  Numbers  25:18,  D'Tll*  »3 
on'^DH  DD^  on,  "for  they  harass  you,  by  their  wiles."  He  takes  the  word  Q'l^, 
"enemies,"  to  be  the  Russian  czars  by  similarity  of  sound:  tsar  =  ^x.  The  dots  over 
the  word  nnxn  are  in  the  text  of  the  document. 


is  an  Anglicism:  "to  feel"  =  "to  mind,"  that  is,  "to  take  care,"  "to  pay 
attention  to,"  "to  minister  to." 

3  x  The  Leeser  reference  is  from  a  book  by  I.  Daniel  Rupp,  History  of  All  the  Religious 
Denominations  in  the  United  States  (Harrisburg,  Pa.,  1848).  It  may  be  that  Leeser  took 
his  reference  from  the  first  edition  of  the  book,  published  in  1844.  This  first  edition, 
with  a  different  title,  is  described  in  A.  S.  W.  Roscnbach,  An  American  Bibliography, 
etc.  (Publications  of  the  American  Jewish  Historical  Society,  Vol.  XXX),  p.  397,  No.  549. 
There  may  have  been  later  editions,  possibly  one  for  the  year  1866. 

412 


MORAIS9   REPORT   ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 


vam  a*&VK  *w  «rn  22*7ir»  Tripaiaa  Tnanaa  I^D  VKW  as?  to  Teoa  araa 
awi  aatp  TOK  a^wi  a^aa*  lamajaa  awaH  pawm  •»»  wasn  ,niK» 
*jVK  awiKa  atoraft  isoaa  aVy  ^IDI  apron  mianai  irftapa 


n*w  T^aa  UDina  ia«r"Tia  nV«  VD       ijntfrpo  nianxa  rrVu 

Vn  rnian  ^  a^oia  a^anaa  aa^anan  aaw 
ant  ^••r  nt^K  nan  a^asna  DDK  nrra  arra  ^a  nx  laaiDn^  ana 
^  lanima  laa1?  aa«r»  K^a  :anan^  ^tmrf 

awaxa  nx  2sa-its;a  rnmn  TIKI  wanVKa  ^pn  n«  anaw 
aanan  Vx  ]n»  wHipM  ^n«r»  nina  trwa  :anw&aa  ]n  DD-UQ  ]n 
orna  la^an^  an  naa  mw^  K^X  ons  ^apV  ma  ^»  K1 

iiT»a  as>  a^aaiwa  anA  snn  26/^nK  n^nn  iis? 
v  nri  at  or  ixsaa  nniaK  WTBK  OKI  pir  ran  naa  ns  naaa 
pai  ra^iK  iiaarwn1?  D^IDO  oneo  pa  iKaa11  arm  :arrra 

^n1?^  ^w  naa    f  •»  n  a  o    in  a  i    T  a  i  p  •»  o 
ara  naaa  -jina  taa^  aaip  Vw  aaoai  naias 
crw  nnaa  ma;  ntrK  THK  wi  /smwa  pt^Ki  ara  nnVn  anV1  ia 
mi»aV  *ra%  taK  iisn  )  •»  a  in  a  T»  T  a  •»  p  atra  anpam  ax/snnx 
man  n^a^D  a^s;  iaia7  *>wn  na^n  n^a  nnaa  nawa  nan  'ri^^a 

:ara 


aa  Peculiar,  literal  Hebrew  for  "the  states  which  are  joined  together"  [United 
States];  see  above,  Note  I. 

*3  A  phrase  found  in  Isaiah  46:6,  DTJD  anr  D'Vrn,  "that  lavish  gold  out  of  the  bag." 

a*  This  was  the  way  in  which  Morais  avoided  writing  the  Holy  Name  Q'n^K: 
instead  of  mutilating  it  by  writing  D'p!?«,  he  cleverly  used  the  letter  1  for  the  n, 
merely  omitting  the  tiny  left-hand  stroke. 

a  s  The  word  hi  the  document  has  a  double  r?,  one  of  which  was  crossed  out  by  the 
author. 

36  This  word  was  shortened:  'irm  instead  of  mn»,  a  usual  rabbinic  way  of  writing* 

»7  The  original  ]'^»»  ipy  nymw  n  i  «  o  »V»  seems  to  be  an  obvious  lapsus  calami. 
It  is  possible  that  m«»  was  written  for  m»K,  "cubits,"  "yards,"  or  perhaps  1 »  J? 
and  n  l  N  o  are  superfluous.  It  cannot  be  314  miles  I  It  may  simply  mean  an  area 
of  between  three  and  four  square  miles,  which  is  more  likely. 

413 


MENAHEM  G.  GLENN 


T»an  ^OIITW  isoa1?  mpaa  -is  *»D  D*i&xa  D'annatf  tf  *  tf?ix     [Page  4] 
vrxa  sp  *  T  •»  v  *nxn  nx  aas*?i  scpT  x*?  paVo  nmatom  waVi 

run  ana&n  nana  :onn  na^a  *naa  n  t   n  i  p  a  a  a'atpva  nx  owaaa 


vr  i&a  WK  •nrac  pVi  ,maraa  aiana  rnsra&xa  ox  ^  in; 
na  :ait?n  tnsi  p^en1?  pn  wi1?  maanV  nsnna  rw  mro  nnx  *]tyaa  n 
••iw  na^a  inan^  n>?na  moan  ^K  yxh  rra  mro^  its?£>5  ^?aa  a«n 
mwinnv  iaw  ^  vto  ipVm  «OT3fl  naxn)  r»n  nap  p^i  la 
mpcon  nnr  ^  >sncn  VK  aatwran  irsinV  na»aan 

am  *naa  mpa  mann  n«sa  rm&m  ^a»n  *IHK  :ian  i&o  oaipa 
mpna  :nn»n  nn»a  ni^a  ram  ^K  oa  awr1?  Dmn:«^a  rma 
n™  nan  usa1*  iai  nnaon  'Tia  VDI  -na^n  ^na  *?s  isoK1* 

ia  -raV1?  onua  ^a  oipa  mi  a^ana  D»  rmVi  an&o  ia    f  a  p  *? 
f  man  n^a  irm  iKa  Tisan  nai  usa11  a^i  ^mapa1?  jn  anatV  )n  T» 
maKten  na^  mbiaa  a^nnn1?  irn  imma    :D^aK^  fnian  n^ai 
2«.  .  *  ,ni«nVi  ania  mw^  na  ni^snn  nan^a  paa  mapa^ 


larran  "nan  T^n  ^r    naiaaa    aina^  Vt^a  -JIT 


nr   :nra 

nanaaia  *?a  ,11^73  ftmpa  nna^an  niaxb'an  Vy  ^^oinV  ^aia   c  n  •»  » 
nx  onn1?  ^tmn  nrin  mViaa  nannn  anr  ntpx  pa 
ia  parr1  nt^K  pa  07^  lanaaa   :pna  '•nnTK^  iaT»v  is; 

rmn  ^n  ia*?a  mi»ni|i  ia3ip3  nt^K  nan  "msn*  ia 
laanpa  nt^x  nan   :vVr  »«naa  aioa 
pa  maan1?  xin  jam  *»n  ^  *?D  pv1?  nxn? 
swr1?  T-nn  iniiDa  naa1'  "itz^x  plan   :nxtn  mxisan  x 
WT  n^Di  o^xan  nnn1?  oVis?  nar1?  ijw»  |rrV»  urai  nt^x  maion 


a  *  It  seems  to  mean  ''tailoring." 

a»  Only  the  letters  1 3 '  o   are  recognizable;  they  seem  to  stand  for  iro'a,  "in  our 
days"  or  "in  our  times,"  i.  e.,  "modem." 

nsn  for  n'«na«  nyx 
414 


MORAIS'  REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 


ran  nxy*  Vxntp  a#a  *WK  tzrx  aVa  miftp  «(mi&:s) 

namru  minn  nisa  na*a 


pn«  in 


rrriiT  ia  in  ritca  sniso  xa  ptwnn  tfnan  ariD»  *poa  [Page  5] 
maw  cnn  nt^s;  a^aw  *|»aa  ntt?wty  na  mann  Vv  Kinn  iDion  Taa  ia 
ainna  paan  ^Daa  I^K  nmt  ••a  nttiKi  ,n^ann  '•wit  irr  isoxn:  ntz^K  ptra 
nn^m  an^n  ^n1?  at?  rr?w  n^V  n^a  pnsnn  n^^awi 
oan  nan»a  is?o^  QDHH  man  nt^K  an&on  "o  nm  ,in«  mpa 
IK  Ttt&nn  Vy  IK  n^snn  V»  in  nwim  Vs;  DK  aa^  na 


nnrj  a^&Va  rrn  ntz?K  32taia  ^im  ^w  parra  ^D  nsn  ,pasn  pa»  to 
•01  .anrV  iV  vii  *»osn7  pna*  na  nt^a  T  *?«  xain  nta  pan  ianp 
•01  ^n^Vn  D^S^K  nntyr  DST^D  mmvn  aima  pian  *ID»D)?  n^ap. 
^w  pnart  pw  ra^nV  nw  tea  ]n^a  nnifrit  n^an  wan  ^t 


arrnnw  mjj1  pa1? 
iaoa  ^DI  .mj?11  isa^iara  puiia  "isff  arai 


ainia 


31  -USD,  "a  tale,"  used  by  Morals  for  a  secretary's  ("ISID)  report. 

^  3  Daniel  Cans  was  a  member  of  the  clothing  firm  of  Cans,  Lebennan  &  Co., 
of  Third  and  Market  Sts.,  Philadelphia,  and  was  very  active  in  Jewish  communal 
affairs.  See  Henry  S.  Morais,  The  Jews  of  Philadelphia  (1894),  pp.  268,  312. 

3  3  Thus  far  I  have  been  unable  to  identify  these  two  children.  Were  they,  too,  of 
the  Gans  family? 

34  For  the  identification  of  Morris  Newburger,  see  Morais,  op.  cit.,  pp.  178,  191, 
290-91. 


3  s  Here  the  page,  which  is  much  shorter  *ha"  the  other  four  in  the  number  of  its 
written  lines,  is  very  defective,  and  breaks  off  at  the  beginning  of  the  word  tit? 
(Lo),  evidently  standing  for  "Locust  Street." 

415 


MEN  AHEM  G.  GLENN 

[Page  i] 

A  SHORT  HISTORY  OF  THE  HEBREW 

EDUCATION  SOCIETY  AND  ITS  AIMS 

AND  ACTIVITIES 

The  necessity  of  training  Jewish  children  through  teachers 
competent  and  well-versed  in  general  studies,  and  particularly  in 
teaching  the  Hebrew  tongue,  was  an  urgent  matter  to  which  the 
members  of  our  congregations  had  long  paid  close  attention.  In 
the  past,  however,  a  knowledge  of  the  Hebrew  tongue  used  to  be 
gained,  for  the  most  part,  from  teachers  who  would  come  into 
private  homes  to  instruct  the  children,  while  the  pupils  them- 
selves understood  very  little  of  what  [their  teachers]  had  to 
teach  them;  and  the  teachers5  pay  for  their  work  was  also  very 
little,  insufficient  to  support  them.  Consequently,  [the  teachers] 
had  to  engage  in  other  work  in  order  to  support  themselves, 
and  the  pupils  were  [,  therefore,]  unable  to  acquire  a  proper 
knowledge  of  the  Hebrew  tongue  and  of  the  commandments  of 
the  Torah.  In  addition  to  all  that  has  been  said  above,  there  were 
many  faults  to  be  found  with  the  books  which  the  children 
studied  in  the  public  schools,  whether  those  books  had  been 
composed  as  textbooks  or  for  private  purposes  [i.  e.,  literary 
works];  for  some  of  the  ideas  [found  in  those  books]  estranged 
their  readers  from  the  Mosaic  Law  and  brought  them  nearer  to 
the  Christian  religion  in  which  their  authors  believed. 

This  was  precisely  the  status  of  education  among  our  people 
who  lived  here  about  fifty  years  ago,  and  a  similar  condition  pre- 
vailed among  all  our  brethren  in  the  United  States.  The  Jews  at 
that  time  complained  because  their  children  were  growing  up 
ignorant  of  the  foundations  of  the  divine  religion  and  its  laws, 
and  vainly  did  our  Jewish  brethren  seek  a  remedy  for  this  evil. 
At  that  time,  however,  there  arose  a  man  among  men  to  show 
us  how  we  could  find  healing  and  a  remedy.  That  man,  Isaac 
416 


MORAIS'  REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 

Leeser,  is  suitably  and  properly  to  be  called  the  first  guide, 
leading  the  people  in  the  path  of  righteousness.  With  a  great  love 
that  was  dependent  on  no  [financial]  consideration,  and  with  a 
willing  spirit,  he  labored,  more  than  all  his  predecessors  and 
even  more  perhaps  than  all  his  successors,  to  strengthen  the 
Hebrew  religion  in  our  midst  and  to  uphold  the  hands  of  its 
adherents.  Isaac  Leeser  untied  a  tightly  bound  knot  which 
others  had  despaired  of  loosing,  when  he  organized  the  above- 
mentioned  society,  which  seems  to  have  been  the  very  first  in 
the  whole  United  States  to  undertake  the  instruction  of  Jewish 
children  in  the  knowledge  of  the  commandments  of  the  living 
God,  The  Reverend  Mr.  Leeser  saw,  long  beforehand,  what 
the  future  would  bring;  for,  regarding  it  as  insufficient  for 
our  children  to  have  only  a  rudimentary  knowledge  [of  Jewish 
subjects],  he  determined  to  add  to  those  studies  some  knowledge 
of  literature,  philosophy,  and  [other]  secular  subjects  which  are 
taught  in  the  schools  according  to  required  and  fixed  rules. 

On  March  7,  1847,  the  [Hebrew  Education]  Society  was 
founded,  and  on  April  7th  of  the  following  year  a  charter  was 
granted  to  it  by  the  Pennsylvania  State  Legislature.  That 
charter  authorized  the  establishment  not  only  of  a  school  to 
educate  children  who  were  minors,  but  also  of  a  college  to  ordain 
students  as  rabbis  in  Israel.  The  first  school  for  small  children 
was  opened  on  April  7,  1851,  and  was  organized  like  all  the 
public  schools.  The  books  and  the  methods  of  instruction  were 
the  equivalents  [of  those  of  the  public  schools],  although  in  our 
school  the  holy  tongue  [Hebrew]  was  to  be  taught,  as  well  as 
Latin,  French,  and  German. 

In  the  year  1853,  Judah  Zuntz  [Judah  Zuntz  died  in  1829; 
Morals  must  have  meant  Judah  Touro,  who  died  in  January, 
1854.  —  Ed.])  having  been  prevailed  upon  by  the  Reverend  Mr, 
Leeser,  left  a  bequest  of  $20,000  to  aid  the  good  work.  This 
money  was  received  on  February  5,  1854,  and  was  used  to 


MEN  AHEM  G.  GLENN 

purchase  the  building  on  Seventh  Street  near  Callowhill  Street. 
By  May  28,  1854,  the  building  was  ready  for  use  as  a  school. 

[Page  2] 

On  October  28, 1867,  studies  were  commenced  in  the  academy 
called  Maimonides  College  in  memory  of  the  RaMBaM,  may  his 
memory  be  a  blessing.  Its  aim  was  to  offer  its  students  good 
instruction  in  the  entire  Hebrew  language  and,  to  some  extent, 
in  the  languages  cognate  thereto;  and  combined  with  [instruction 
in]  Bible  and  Talmud  were  to  be  all  the  branches  of  learning  nec- 
essary for  modern  rabbis.  The  Reverend  Mr.  Leeser,  the  Rever- 
end Mr.  [Marcus]  Jastrow,  the  Reverend  Mr.  [Aaron  S.]  Bettel- 
heim,  and  Sabato  Morais  devoted  their  time  to  teaching  there, 
gratis,  and  their  labors  were  gladly  accepted  by  their  people.  The 
expenses  incurred  from  the  studies  and  from  the  students5  main- 
tenance were,  however,  more  than  our  brethren  in  Philadelphia 
could  bear.  Also,  the  money  which  the  people  of  New  York 
had  promised  to  send  us  was  never  forthcoming  and,  conse- 
quently, to  our  sorrow,  the  college  closed  after  a  few  years. 
The  children's  school,  to  be  sure,  maintained  its  vigor  and  did 
not  fall  short  of  the  best  [schools]  in  the  state,  despite  the  fact 
that  some  of  our  people  who  were  held  to  be  wise,  but  were  wise 
only  in  their  own  estimate,  despised  it  and  argued  that  on  its 
account  we  had  been  set  apart  from  the  general  community 
and  were  considered  a  sect  in  ourselves.  The  truth  was,  however, 
that  the  school  was  open  to  all,  Jews  and  non-Jews  alike,  and 
that  some  of  its  teachers  were  non-Jews.  Those  who  opposed  the 
school  adduced  another  reason  in  its  disfavor  and  claimed  that, 
despite  their  suitable  preparation,  the  pupils  would  be  denied 
permission  to  proceed  from  there  to  the  public  high  schools, 
since  only  public  school  students  would  be  admitted  there. 
A  petition  was  then  presented  to  the  Pennsylvania  Legislature, 
and  permission  to  place  our  school  on  the  same  level  as  the  public 
418 


MORAIS5  REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 

schools  was  granted.  [Since  that  was]  something  not  granted  to 
any  other  school,  the  opposition  was  effectively  silenced. 

About  the  year  1877,  a  large  number  of  people  from  the 
Russian  lands  came  here  and  settled  in  the  northeastern  side  of 
this  city.  The  site  was  far  from  the  sections  where  most  people 
lived,  and  some  three  and  a  quarter  miles  from  the  center  of 
the  city.  Nor  were  any  residences  and  business  places  of  our 
brethren  to  be  found  there.  The  neighborhood  was  in  poor 
condition  and  lacked  decent  living  facilities,  but  since  it  was 
possible  to  rent  a  house  cheaply  in  the  area,  the  immigrants 
chose  to  live  there.  When  the  Society  heard  that  our  brethren 
had  settled  there,  it  assumed  the  obligation  of  supplying  their 
educational  needs  and  of  helping  them  to  adjust  to  their  new 
social  and  cultural  conditions.  On  December  28,  1879,  ** 
acquired  three  adjacent  houses  in  the  neighborhood  and  there 
established  schools  not  only  to  educate  the  children  academically, 
but  also  to  teach  them  such  manual  trades  as  sewing  and 
weaving  [embroidery?],  etc.,  for  girls,  and  cigar  making  and 
carpentry,  etc.,  for  boys.  The  Society  had  hoped  to  obtain  out- 
side help,  but  the  frustration  of  its  hopes  obliged  it  to  forego 
general  education  for  the  children,  and  to  confine  itself  to  the 
teaching  of  Hebrew  reading,  of  translation  into  the  vernacular, 
and  of  the  history  of  our  ancestors  from  the  time  they  became  a 
nation.  In  order  to  achieve  this  aim,  the  Society  established  three 
schools  in  different  sections  of  this  city,  but  the  vocational 
training  school,  which  has  remained  in  the  northeastern  part 
of  our  city,  is  still  active  and  "yields  fruit  after  its  kind/'  The 
Society,  moreover,  extended  [its  program  of]  vocational  training 
by  setting  up  a  place  for  it  on  the  south  side  of  our  city.  In  the 
meantime,  the  Society's  director,  after  conducting  its  activities 
in  various  capacities,  was  elected  its  first  president  in  the  year 
1862,  and  served  until  1871.  At  that  time  his  own  personal 
needs  no  longer  allowed  him  to  bear  that  burden,  and  he  was 


MENAHEM  G.  GLENN 

forced  to  remove  it  from  his  shoulders.  Then  the  Society  became 
increasingly  impoverished.  Its  funds  were  depleted,  and  the 
school  for  the  general  education  of  children  was  closed  down. 
The  teaching  of  the  Hebrew  language,  however,  did  not  cease, 
and  was  not  to  be  suspended,  as  long  as  the  Society  existed. 

[Page  3] 

In  the  year  1882,  our  brethren  who  were  subject  to  the 
Russian  government  suffered  many  evils  and  troubles.  Thou- 
sands [of  them]  fled  (from  there)  for  their  lives  and  abandoned 
all  their  possessions  or  they  were  expelled  from  their  birth- 
places and  directed  their  steps  towards  our  country  to  find 
shelter  and  a  refuge,  and  to  be  free  under  its  protection.  And  it 
happened,  after  their  arrival,  that  thousands  and  tens  of  thou- 
sands continued  to  come  here,  and  their  numbers  increased  until 
Jews  from  the  Slavic  lands  —  that  is,  from  Russia,  Roumania, 
and  Hungary  —  were  to  be  found  in  growing  numbers  not  only 
in  the  large  cities  but  in  the  smaller  towns  as  well.  Those  immi- 
grants were  received  with  friendliness,  especially  in  Philadelphia, 
for  here  the  congregations  strove  to  treat  them  kindly  and  to 
encourage  people  to  hate  the  enemies  who  were  oppressing 
them  with  their  wiles.  The  number  of  these  Jews  who  came  to 
us  in  their  poverty  imposed  a  heavier  burden  on  their  brethren 
who  were  already  settled  here.  For  the  latter  had  to  give  the 
newcomers  proper  guidance  in  study  and  in  the  social  mores  of 
the  country  with  which,  having  been  born  among  inane  and 
unstable  peoples,  the  immigrants  were  unfamiliar.  After  attend- 
ing, therefore,  to  [the  immigrants']  physical  needs,  their  brethren 
assumed  the  responsibility  of  ministering  also  to  their  spiritual 
needs,  so  that  they  might  achieve  their  goal  (purpose),  and  so 
that  each  one  of  them  might  become  like  the  native-born.  We 
never  imagined  that  the  number  of  the  immigrants  would  grow 
to  what  it  is  now,  for  the  Reverend  Mr.  Leeser,  who  was  better 
420 


MORAIS*  REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 

acquainted  than  anyone  else  with  the  Jews  in  America,  wrote 
as  follows  in  an  article  in  the  year  1844  or  1848:  "The  Jews  in 
New  York  City  number  about  10,000  souls."  In  the  same  article, 
he  added  that  "in  Philadelphia  there  are  three  congregations 
amounting  to  fifteen  or  eighteen  hundred  [persons]."  It  seems 
to  us  that  the  entire  Jewish  population  in  America  at  that  time 
numbered  twenty-five  hundred  [?]; 3<s  but  now,  according  to  our 
reckoning,  counting  men  and  women  whose  names  were  re- 
corded in  the  congregations,  charitable  organizations,  etc.,  the 
number  in  Philadelphia  alone  would  actually  exceed  40,000, 
half  of  them  born  in  the  Slavic  lands.  All  these  have  settled 
among  us  during  the  past  twelve  years,  and  their  increased 
needs  have  to  be  supplied  by  the  educational  and  charitable 
societies.  Even  if  some  of  them  are  self-supporting,  there  are  few 
who  open  their  purses  to  help  others ! 

Our  hearts  rejoice,  indeed,  to  see  that  the  Jewish  congrega- 
tions observe  God's  statutes  and  His  Torah  by  helping  the  needy 
and  by  showing  kindness  to  the  immigrants,  both  physically 
and  spiritually.  Jewish  women  devoted  their  time  for  this  pur- 
pose, not  for  the  sake  of  receiving  a  reward,  but  to  gratify  our 
Creator  by  befriending  His  creatures.  Yet  another  benefit  is 
conferred  on  the  immigrants  who  reside  here  in  our  city,  because 
they  do  not  find  it  necessary  to  crowd  themselves  into  a  narrow 
district,  as  [is  the  case]  in  New  York;  for,  though  there  are  many 
groups  [of  immigrants],  there  is  still  [sufficient]  space  between 
them.  Most  of  them  are  to  be  found  between  Spruce  Street  and 
Washington  Avenue  and  between  Second  and  Broad  Streets, 
a  district  of  three  hundred  fourteen  miles  from  north  to  south 
and  a  mile  from  east  to  west  [sic  I].  Within  this  district  there  are 

afi  Morals'  figure  of  2,500  Jews  for  the  year  1866  is  absurdly  low.  According  to 
The  American  Jewish  Tear  Book:  5665  (Philadelphia,  1904),  p.  306,  M.  A.  Berk 
•estimated  the  Jewish  population  of  the  United  States  at  50,000  in  1848.  In  1866, 
it  must  have  been  much  more.  In  all  probability  the  author  meant  250,000. 

421 


MENAHEM  G.  GLENN 

to  be  found  Sunday  schools  for  boys  and  girls,  another  [school] 
founded  by  the  Women's  Society  [Young  Women's  Union]  in 
the  year  1885  and  called  the  Kindergarten,  and  still  another 
[school]  to  teach  girls  baking  and  cooking  under  the  supervision 
of  the  Education  Society,  which  we  have  often  mentioned  in  this 
report. 

[Page  4] 

Some,  however,  complain[ed]  that  the  place  [was]  too  crowded 
for  the  constantly  increasing  numbers  and  for  the  needs  of  the 
students  who  attend[ed]  those  schools  and  who  might  be  harmed 
by  the  air  which,  with  its  poisonous  gases,  afflicts  the  inhab- 
itants of  that  area.  The  writer  of  this  report  sought  aid,  but 
found  it  only  through  the  above-mentioned  Society.  Conse- 
quently, after  he  had  withdrawn  from  [his  office  in]  it  for  eleven 
years,  he  was  willing  to  be  re-elected  president,  [if]  only  to 
demonstrate  his  good  will.  What  he  desired  to  do  with  all  his 
heart  in  order  to  reach  [his]  goal  seemed  impossible  of  achieve- 
ment to  his  associates,  and  so  his  friends  rose  up  in  opposition 
to  him  because  they  were  convinced  that  the  expenses  necessarily 
attendant  on  his  plan  would  prevent  its  execution.  Now,  how- 
ever, all  the  doubts  which  they  harbored  have  totally  ceased. 
After  [much]  toil  and  trouble,  the  Society  has  found  a  decent 
location,  spacious  in  area,  brightly  lit,  and  comprising  many 
rooms  with  a  seating  capacity  of  fifteen  hundred  boys  and  girls. 
All  the  classes  and  reading  rooms  are  to  be  gathered  together  in 
those  quarters,  and  there  is  also  to  be  a  special  section  for  a 
library  and  a  public  lecture  hall,  as  well  as  a  large  place  to 
teach  both  men  and  women  the  manual  trades.  There  will  be 
something  else  there  that  is  very  necessary  —  a  bathhouse  for 
women  and  a  bathhouse  for  men.  It  is  our  intention  to  expand 
the  scope  of  the  vocational  training  [program],  especially  for 
women;  for  example,  a  course  in  sewing  for  the  designing  and  . . . 
422 


MORAIS5   REPORT  ON  THE  HEBREW  EDUCATION  SOCIETY 

making  of  clothing,  and  also  [courses  in]  various  occupations 
invented  in  our  times  on  the  subject  of  writing,  for  example, 
typing,  stenography,  etc.  By  the  use  of  steam,  moreover,  we 
shall  be  able  to  add  to  the  trades  already  taught.  Our  aim,  in 
short,  is  to  establish  a  building  which  will  extend  the  limits  of 
human  knowledge,  raising  the  immigrants  from  their  low 
estate  so  that  they  may  become  the  equals  of  the  native-born 
of  the  country.  Our  aim  is  to  erect  a  structure  in  which  the 
immigrant  in  our  midst  may  take  pleasure  and  pride  and  by 
which  he  may  be  inspired  to  thank  God,  may  He  be  blessed, 
and  his  Hebrew  brethren  for  the  abundance  of  goodness  show- 
ered upon  him.  The  immigrant  in  our  midst  will  be  willing,  and 
will  desire,  to  be  improved  and  to  show  to  all  that  he  deserves 
to  be  numbered  among  free  men,  born  in  this  glorious  republic. 
By  paving  the  way  to  the  achievement  of  the  benefits  which  we 
have  mentioned,  the  building  to  be  erected  will  remain  as  an 
everlasting  reminder  to  coming  generations,  and  all  of  them  will 
know  and  believe  that  love  of  one's  fellow  men  lies  in  the  heart 
of  every  man  called  a  Jew,  and  that  in  truth  he  fulfills  the 
commandment  of  the  Torah,  "And  thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbor 
as  thyself." 

MOSES  BAR  AARON  DROPSIE 
Chief  Director  of  the  Society. 

[Page  5] 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  Chief  Director's  report,  there  is  an 
additional  report  by  David  bar  Judah  Sulzberger,  in  which  that 
secretary  of  the  Society  gives  an  account  of  what  was  done  during 
the  twelve  months  which  elapsed  since  the  [last]  time  the  mem- 
bers met.  He  [Sulzberger]  relates  that  after  the  building  on 
Seventh  Street  was  sold,  the  school  which  had  been  housed 
there  for  the  education  of  boys  and  girls  in  Hebrew  was  removed 
elsewhere.  Also  that  the  books  bequeathed  as  a  gift  by  the 

423 


MEN  AHEM  G.  GLENN 

Reverend  Mr.  Leeser  were  properly  arranged  according  to  their 
subject  matter,  Bible  or  prayers  or  Talmud  or  history,  and  a  list 
of  the  number  of  books  on  each  subject  was  prepared.  Also,  that 
the  bequest  of  Daniel  Gans,  which  had  been  held  in  trust  by  his. 
relative  Aaron  Gans,  was  turned  over  to  Moses  bar  Aaron, 
Dropsie,  who  became  its  trustee.  And  that  the  Society  received 
almost  Si 0,000  from  the  sale  of  the  building  on  Seventh  Street, 
and  that  the  five-dollar  award  given  annually  to  a  competent 
student  in  memory  of  two  deceased  children,  Norman  and 
Courtney,  was  given  as  usual.  Also,  that  Morris  Newburger 
donated  $100  so  that  from  the  interest  thereof  an  award  should 
be  purchased  for  the  Kindergarten,  to  be  called  the  Morton 
Newburger  Award.  And  that  the  number  of  boys  and  girls  in 
the  three  Hebrew  schools  exceeds  one  hundred,  and  that  in  the 
vocational  training  school  which  is  on  Lo.fcust]  Street . .  . 


424 


The  Role  of  Wolf  Schur 

as  Hebraist  and  Zionist 

JACOB  KABAKOFF 

I.  IN  THE  NEW  WORLD 

IKE  coming  of  Wolf  [Zev]  Schur  to  the  United 
States  in  1888  presaged  a  period  of  growth  and  development 
on  the  American  Hebrew  literary  scene.  After  the  modest 
activity  of  the  1870*8,  there  followed  some  years  of  decline  and 
standstill.  Schur  was  followed  here  by  Ephraim  Deinard  and 
Michael  L.  Rodkinson,  who  also  were  active  in  behalf  of  Hebrew 
letters.  The  close  of  the  i88o's,  therefore,  marks  a  turning  point 
in  the  formative  period  of  American  Hebrew  writing. 

Schur,  who  was  born  in  the  1 840*8  in  Lithuania,1  played  a 
special  role  as  a  pioneer  of  the  American  Hebrew  press.  He  was 
an  ardent  propagandist  on  behalf  of  the  Hibbat  Zion  ["Love  of 
Zion"]  movement  and,  with  the  advent  of  Theodor  Herzl, 
of  political  Zionism  as  well.  His  writing  was  characterized  by  a 
zeal  for  the  cause  of  the  East  European  immigrant,  whom  he 
sought  to  aid  and  defend  against  his  detractors.  He  championed 
his  views  with  fervor  in  his  weekly  publications,  Ha-Pisgah  and 

Rabbi  Jacob  Kabakoff  is  Dean  of  the  Institute  of  Jewish  Studies  of  the  Bureau  of 
Jewish  Education  in  Cleveland,  Ohio. 

*  According  to  most  biographical  sources,  Schur  was  born  in  Outian,  near  Kovno, 
Lithuania,  in  1840.  In  The  American  Jewish  Tear  Book:  5665  (1904-1905),  p.  183, 
however,  Schur's  birth  date  is  given  as  October  27,  1844.  See  A.  R.  Malachi's 
introduction  to  the  section  of  Schur's  letters  in  his  Igrot  Sofrim  (1932),  pp.  84-87, 
and  B.  Z.  Eisenstadt's  Hakhmt  Tisrael  ba'Amerika  (1903),  pp.  103-4. 

425 


JACOB  KABAKOFF 

Ha-Tehiyah,  which  he  maintained  at  great  personal  sacrifice, 
and  gave  literary  form  to  his  ideas  in  his  volume,  Nezah  Tisrael 
("The  Eternity  of  Israel,"  1896). 

Schur  achieved  a  position  of  some  stature  in  this  country 
because  he  already  had  a  considerable  reputation  when  he 
appeared  on  the  literary  scene.  He  had  been  a  regular  contrib- 
utor to  Peretz  Smolenskin's  Ha-Shahar  and  Judah  Loeb  Kantor's 
Ha-Tom,  to  Ha-Melitz,  and  to  other  publications.  His  book, 
Mahazot  Ha-Hqyim  ("Scenes  of  Life,"  1884),  describing  his 
travels  in  the  Orient,  had  been  favorably  received.  He  had  also 
edited  the  volume,  Massaot  Shlomo  ("Travels  of  Solomon," 
1887),  by  Solomon  Rinman.  Despite  these  successes,  Schur  was 
constantly  in  financial  straits.  In  1882  he  moved  to  Vienna, 
where  he  tried  to  make  a  living  by  writing. 2  Later  he  sought 
to  go  to  Palestine  as  the  secretary  of  Kalman  Zev  Wissotzky, 
but  when  this  plan  fell  through  he  decided  to  emigrate  to  this 
country. 

In  New  York  Schur  obtained  some  support  among  the  group 
of  maskilim.  Westernized  East  European  Jewish  intellectuals, 
who  were  largely  members  of  the  lower  and  middle  classes. 
He  found  a  circle  of  readers  who  followed  the  European  Hebrew 
press,  and  to  them  he  dedicated  his  Hebrew  weekly,  Ha-Pisgah. 
Happy  that  Schur  had  come,  the  mashilim  rallied  around  his 
journal,  which  carried  the  English  masthead:  "The  Summit, 
the  only  Hebrew  literary  weekly  in  America  for  the  purpose  of 
promoting  the  knowledge  of  the  ancient  Hebrew  language 
among  the  Jews." 3 

*  See  Schur's  letters  to  J.  J.  Weisberg,  published  by  Malachi  in  Igrot  So/rim,  pp. 
88-100,  and  to  Srnolenskin  and  Kantor,  published  by  Baruch  Rubinstein  in  his 
article,  "L'Zikhro  Shel  Zev  Wolf  Schur,"  Bitzaron,  IV  (1953),  437-41.  Schur 
informed  Weisberg  as  early  as  March  1 1, 1886,  of  his  intention  of  going  to  America. 

3  Hillel  Malachovrsky,  who  had  preceded  Schur  to  America,  writes  in  his  memoirs: 
"How  happy  I  was  .  . .  when  I  heard  that  a  group  of  Hebrew  writers  had  arrived 
in  New  York  —  my  friend  Wolf  Schur,  Ephraim  Deinard  and  Michael  Rodkinson, 

426 


THE  ROLE  OF  WOLF  SGHUR  AS  HEBRAIST  AND  ZIONIST 

In  his  initial  editorial  in  the  opening  issue  of  Ha-Pisgah,  which 
appeared  in  New  York  on  September  14,  1888,  Schur  stated 
that  he  wished  to  unite  the  various  groups  in  American  Jewry 
through  the  medium  of  the  Hebrew  language.  He  spoke  also  of 
the  need  to  "arouse  the  national  feeling"  and  remained  faithful 
to  the  spirit  of  Hibbat  Zion.  But  his  hope  of  finding  enough 
support  to  continue  the  regular  publication  of  his  journal  was 
shattered,  and  he  had  to  cease  publication  after  the  thirteenth 
number. 

In  the  twelfth  issue  of  Ha-Pisgah,  dated  December  21,  1888, 
Schur  announced  the  formation  of  a  committee  to  aid  his 
journal.  Among  the  members  were  some  of  the  leading  rabbis 
and  maskilim  in  New  York,  men  like  Alexander  Kohut,  Bernard 
Drachman,  Leopold  Zinsler,  Pinkhos  Minkovsky,  Judah  David 
Eisenstein,  H.  Pereira  Mendes,  and  others.  Despite  this  imposing 
list,  Schur  was  able  to  publish  only  one  additional  issue  during 
the  first  year. 4 

In  the  first  volume  of  Ha-Pisgah  a  number  of  Schur's  central 
ideas  were  underscored.  He  dwelt  on  the  neglect  to  which  the 
East  European  immigrants  had  been  abandoned  and  on  the 
need  for  improving  their  lot.  He  stressed  the  importance  of 
fostering  the  Hebrew  language  and  establishing  "Hebrew  lan- 
guage societies/*  which  should  include  also  laborers.  In  Zionist 
activity  he  saw  a  means  of  combating  assimilation  and  Reform, 
which  he  attacked  at  every  opportunity. 

and  each  with  the  ambition  to  be  a  Hebrew  editor.  Wolf  Schur  was  the  first  with 
Ha-Pisgah,  and  I  immediately  sent  him  an  article  which  was  printed  in  the  second 
issue."  See  KitoS  Hillel  ben  %ev  Mdachowsky,  II  (1940),  60-61. 

4  Attempts  to  issue  journals  were  made  at  that  time  also  by  Deinard  and  Rod- 
kinson.  Deinard  started  his  weekly,  Ha-Leumi,  on  December  14,  1888,  and  pub- 
lished twenty-three  numbers.  Rodkinson  started  his  Ha-Kol  even  later,  on  February 
9,  1899,  first  as  a  biweekly  and  then  as  a  weekly,  and  published  nineteen  numbers. 
Both  attempts  failed  for  lack  of  support.  Their  literary  level  was  inferior  to  that  of 
Ha-Pisgah ,  whose  editor  was  by  far  the  best  of  the  group. 

427 


JACOB  KABAKOFF 

Despite  his  unsuccessful  effort  and  the  short-lived  journalistic 
attempts  of  Deinard  and  Rodkinson  which  followed,  Schur  did 
not  abandon  the  idea  of  renewing  his  publication.  He  traveled 
to  various  cities  in  order  to  muster  the  support  of  the  Hebrew 
readers.  In  a  letter  to  Hil